Harald Walach




The Higher Self is a concept introduced by Roberto Assagioli, the founder of psychosynthesis,

into transpersonal psychology. This notion is explained and linked up with the Western mystical

tradition. Here, coming from antiquity and specifically from the neo-Platonic tradition, a

similiar concept has been developed which became known as the spark of the soul, or summit of

the mind. This history is sketched and the meaning of the term illustrated. During the middle

ages it was developed into a psychology of mysticism by Thomas Gallus, popularized by

Bonaventure, and radicalized by the Carthusian writer Hugh of Balma. Spark of the soul signifies

an "organ of the mystical experience." It is argued that the split introduced into history

between outer and inner experience has lain dormant ever since the 13th century, with inner

experience relegated to the private and mystical realm. By introducing this concept, transpersonal

psychology reconnects with this tradition and has to be aware of the legacy: to achieve the theoretical,

and if possible scientific, integration of both types of experience by drawing on the experiential

nature of this concept and fostering good research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.