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Living Life As Large As Your Soul

An Introduction to Presence-Centered Healing and Transformation

by Rhonda Mattern

After years of spiritual practice or therapy, do you still feel that there’s something missing in your life? If so, I have good news. There’s an exciting movement afoot in the field of spiritual psychology that might just offer the missing piece—and the missing peace—in your life.

In the 1960’s, the groundbreaking psychologist Abraham Maslow called for a psychology that would help people to live from their spiritual nature—a psychology that embraced the whole human being: body, mind, emotions, and soul. I spent years of “hunt and peck” looking for a method that would help me to do this. And these weren’t casual dates: I committed myself to each approach for years. I tried breath work, meditation, therapy, bodywork, and visualization. I repeated affirmations and clarified my mission and goals. I beat pillows and screamed. I sipped flower essences like a love-starved hummingbird. I let go and let God. And still I suffered.

Meditation helped me to experience my spiritual nature, and psychology helped me to understand my subconscious patterns. These were essential experiences, and while they took the edge of my suffering, they didn’t change the things I most hoped to change in my life: abusive and unfulfilling relationships, work I disliked, and a judge and jury screaming “bad girl” 24/7 inside my head.

While spiritual teachings help us to experience my spiritual nature, most of them either damn or ignore the mind and emotions. Psychology often returns the favor by ignoring the soul. Both overlook a basic reality: the experience of consciousness for human beings includes both soul and mind. Even the word human reflects this sacred collaboration: hu means God or spirit, and mana is Sanskrit for mind.

After many years of searching, I finally found what I was looking for: an approach to healing and transformation that helped me to become more aware of the whole of my consciousness—body, mind, emotions, and soul. Developed by a host of innovators from the fields of psychology and spirituality, these methods help people to connect to the healing power of their own spiritual nature to heal and transform subconscious patterns. I call these new methods “presence-centered” approaches because they help people to become more present to—and more centered in—the vast, healing capacities of their own consciousness.

The poet Rumi once said that when love brings two things together, a third thing is created, something completely new and unique. This explains why presence-centered practices are so radically different from the spiritual and psychological disciplines that preceded them. This isn’t just talk therapy with a few spiritual disciplines pasted onto it, or a spiritual teaching with a few psychological tools thrown in. It’s a completely new discipline that’s emerged from its parent disciplines:


Method of healing and transformation:



Experience the wisdom, compassion, and love of your spiritual nature


Understand your subconscious patterns and choose new behaviors

Presence-centered practices

Bring the consciousness of your spiritual nature to subconscious patterns (in very specific and skillful ways)

Here’s a simple analogy to help you grasp the significance of this fundamentally different approach to healing and transformation:

Picture your soul as a beautiful castle. Now see your limiting attitudes and emotional reactions (e.g., angry outbursts, judging yourself mercilessly, etc.) as alligators in the castle moat. It’s not enough to learn how to enter the castle, because alligators keep pulling you back into the moat. It’s not enough to learn how the alligators pull you into the moat, because that doesn’t get you back into the castle.

Spiritual teachings show you how to get into the castle. Psychology teaches you how alligators pull you into the moat. Presence-centered practice helps you take the next step: learning concrete skills that help you bring higher consciousness to limiting patterns in a way that actually helps you break free of them.

Presence-centered practitioners help people tame their inner alligators by teaching three essential skills:

§ How to consistently and reliably distinguish your soul or spiritual nature from your mind (despite years of meditation, I was not skilled at doing this)

§ How to explore subconscious patterns while anchored in higher consciousness

§ Specific actions to take (and not take) to help subconscious patterns to heal and transform

Working with presence-centered practitioners is likely to be different from anything you’ve ever experienced, and it can change things you thought would never change. During presence-centered classes and mentoring sessions, you don’t talk about consciousness—you experience it! Your mentor will help you to deeply connect with the awareness beyond your mind, not just for a few minutes, but throughout the entire session, and not just now and then, but during every session.

Dozens of presence-centered approaches like Hakomi Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Leela Therapy, non-dual psychotherapy, and Buddhist psychotherapy are radically changing the face of psychotherapy and spiritual practice by giving people concrete tools to connect with the vast healing resources of the soul itself. Presence-centered methods were originally available primarily to psychotherapists, but in recent years, various individuals have started offering them to the general public. For a list of presence-centered practitioners, training programs, and other resources, you’re welcome to visit my website at www.the1thing.net.

The poet Hafiz once called man “a divine elephant with amnesia living in an ant hole.”

Presence-centered practice offers tools to help you wake up to your spiritual nature and break free of whatever ant hole you happen to be stuck in. People from all walks of life are increasingly turning to presence-centered methods because they address a universal spiritual need: to live a life as large as the divine elephant that you are—a life as large as your soul.

For over two decades, Rhonda Mattern has led workshops in spiritual awareness and leadership development throughout the United States, as well as Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. She currently offers private mentoring sessions and tele-classes in presence-centered practice, and maintains a website to help people learn more about presence-centered methods. To learn more, visit: www.the1thing.net or contact Rhonda at 203-944-0023 or info@the1thing.net.

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