YOUR Human Potential and Empowerment: Peak Experiences

An holistic approach  to achieving, developing and actualizing your innate human spiritual potential.

Human Spiritual Potential: Actualizing  & Achieving (Activating) your Human
An Essay
For people who have chosen to go on a journey of personal growth: one that is a process  of
transitions and constant series of transformation - towards the fulfillment of deep, inner
needs of
empowerment (see
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs  (it may be helpful to keep that page open - for
reference and comparison).

It will be the biggest challenge you will ever face: for you cannot
make it happen, you can only let
it happen: a very hard lesson - and we can help. You’ll confront your beliefs, biases, prejudices and
fears. You will also encounter your unresolved “issues” and baggage” (barriers).

Realizing and achieving your potential is the most difficult journey you will embark on because of
the barriers you are encumbered with, and by: living in a culture of dysfunction is very much like
living amidst insanity. Unless we make intelligent choices, that insanity will overtake  us as well.
The "issues" are most generally connected to the
wounded inner child, and will remain barriers
until dealt with.

Humans are not just physical/mental beings. They have many dimensions that are integral parts
of who they uniquely are: physical, mental-intellectual, emotional and spiritual (and physical).
“Integrating” all of them will be a major part of your challenge.
Human Potential

Humanity's potential is infinite
We have no idea of what human
beings are capable of becoming.
People living in a world free of fear
and communicating freely will
Create a world that will be
Beautiful beyond imagining.

"Know Thyself" -Plato
People’s emotional, mental, and spiritual states are
closely tied-in with their physical being: which is
why so many illnesses and ailments are classified
as “psychosomatic” – meaning that the body
reflects the turmoil going on inside a person.

As humans, we can
choose to either be driven
mostly by our feelings and emotions,
or we can
choose  to take charge (control)
and guide those
emotions and feelings with reason. The choice is
ours: either way, there is no escaping the fact
that it is

There is one journey  – but each person will take
a different path: not because they are male, female,
child or senior – but because we are all unique,
individual beings, see "
Rules For Being Human".
There are no "perfect" people, or wholly actualized  people - but there are people who are in the
process of actualizing their potential.   Full potential is an unknown - it is an ideal to work towards:
a lifetime task. Fortunately, in that enterprise, it is good to remember that the universe (multi-verse)
unfolds as it should. People unfold as they should - depending on the choices they make in life, and
their reactions to life: they can either be at the mercy of everything that comes along - or take
charge - the choice is theirs. In that process all their current and previous beliefs, values, habits will
be challenged. And they can be transformed and find empowerment! But Liberation and Freedom do
not come without a price.

Henry David Thoreau said,
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because
he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far
Going beyond “culturally prescribed rules” entails a lot. Such a journey, should you take it,
may be the hardest task and challenge you will ever face.

For here is where you encounter - yourself!
Activating, Developing & Achieving our potential is a journey: not a destination. What it is instead is
a process - a journey of overcoming the barriers and obstacles to growth and development: a
journey with positive consequences and benefits.

"Human Potential" is an often-encountered concept: frequently a mis-used and misleading
interpretation of it. As such, it is widely promoted as if it's something "out there", waiting for you to
find it. The things is, no one can "give" you increased human potential - not matter what their claims
are. Only
you can increase it, and it will be a long, and often difficult journey. It is not some
grandiose endeavour: it is where you encounter and confront yourself!

The journey of unfolding human potential towards self-empowerment is a transformative one: this
means you will be transformed. In the process, you will transcend who you are, what you believed,
and how you lived your live previously.
Your most difficult challenge will be yourself!

Facing your inner "self" is a daunting, and at times, a
frightening task. It is not something that a few seminars,
books, or a quick course can accomplish.

It means "stepping outside the box" - a very difficult thing
to do for most people. What it will all end up looking like
is impossible for anyone else to predict: we are each
different, and we will each select, arrange and build the
contents of "our box" based on who we are, and who we
are becoming.

There are barriers and obstacles. The benefits, however,
make it entirely worthwhile. There are many pages on
this site that provide information on many of them.
Your journey is
not a selfish endeavour - the more you
become a "
full" human - the better you are with those
around you. And we all benefit.
The journey to actualizing and expanding your human potential is one that has no end because life is
dynamic, and life around us is dynamic; as is our ability to understand things. Nothing is static.

As we increase our knowledge and understanding, we begin to see new possibilities. As we explore
and incorporate them into "who we are at the moment", we will be transformed again - kind of like
in ascending steps, and see yet other possibilities - constantly transcending what we knew and
understood before.

And this process will be repeated time after time. No one knows what a human who has achieved
their full potential "looks like": no one has ever achieved it. That is why it is a journey, and not a

"Human Potential" is a concept the embraces two levels: the potential an individual can strive to
expand, and  the potential the whole human race can strive for.

These are two separate, but related things. I believe that in order to accomplish #2, the first
requirement is for people (#1) to make changes toward realizing their full potential
(self-actualization and empowerment).

So it is a journey with no definitive end - because we do not yet know what the full potential consists
of, what it looks or feels like, and whether or not perhaps it expands as new milestones are reached,
and new possibilities unfold.

There is no aspect of your "reality" that will not be potentially challenged: your beliefs, values, sense
of right and wrong - customs, ethics, etc. Your sense of "reality" will be changed. Unfolding your
human potential can be done in many ways: for it involves all the dimensions of what it is to be
human: holistically. Hence, it involves, and incorporates, all your human dimensions: mental,
intellectual, emotional and spiritual (I leave the physical aspects of it to others).
The barriers and obstacles to
developing our potential!

The main barrier is our own internalized
thought and belief system. Our
culture is
another. Other people and circumstances in
our lives present yet one more.

All of those shape your attitude and belief
as to what is possible for you - what is
appropriate  for you, what is "right" for you -
and what is not possible.

This means that, admirable as the goal of
actualizing human potential is, the
possibility is, in a way, a fallacy. As Colin
Wilson states, it is a lie propagated by our
intellect and the ideology around us. We
are bound by our culture, and our belief
and value-systems. Yet, it's not
An expansion on achieving your Potential.

Achieving your fuller potential means coming to terms with those barriers etc - and then
transcending them. It begins with yourself: in Plato's words, "
Know Thyself" - for unless you
fully know who, and what, you are, you have no basis for moving forward.

Discovering the answers to that be part of the journey: acknowledging Human Potential starts
with valuing the inherent worth and dignity of each person, including your own; the sacredness
of human potential and the empowerment it  brings into
all the dimensions of life. There are
transition stages toward transformation. There is nothing mysterious or new about that; using
the core concepts behind the various religious and spiritual and other teachings, about
becoming actualized people, as a base, the goal and journey of learning to transcend them will
be do-able.

intellect (mind) is a major internal obstacle: it believes that we are separate: yet our
deep inner self knows we are not - that we all are part of everything, and everyone around us
- past, present and future.

The journey is one of "learning" - and that learning is the
process through which we activate
and  expand our "human spiritual potential" - always in concert with the "divine" - however we
understand it: it still remains humanistic. In the search for our full human potential, we will
also go far beyond the constrictions of our culture.

Emotions present a huge barrier as well: in fact, our lives consist in large part of a constant
struggle and tension between our reason and our emotions: and unless we have achieved a
degree of empowerment, inner discipline and control, whenever there is a clash between our
reason and our emotions, emotions almost always "win".

Culture (and all its ramifications) will be one of the biggest obstacles we have to deal with -
because it has "determined" so many of our internal beliefs and values: including what we
believe is possible for us - and what is impossible: barriers and blocks to transformation!
The graphic above left illustrates this somewhat.

Other Barriers are: Daily life with all it's challenges and unexpected situations; Stress;
Family/Marital/Relationship problems; Illness; Financial problems; Grief; Addictions, and
many others. All of these are among the things we have to deal with, or set in order, to
continue our journey.

The drive toward developing and realizing our full human potential is a really reaching for the
divine with our human limitations. It is a journey that very much involves what
characterized as the "hierarchy of needs"
Spirituality  and Spiritual Humanism recognize the inter-connectedness of all things: an holistic
blend of humanism-theism. Realizing (achieving) our full human potential requires development,
growth and integration of
all the dimensions of life that make us human: physical, mental,
emotional and spiritual: that is the holistic way. It may not be possible to do so fully - we don't
know the limits".

When we are fully integrated, we are fully whole. When there is no complete integration, there is
no complete wholeness. Wholeness is known as "holistic", which in essence means, to incorporate
all aspects - or the "whole". There is a major "caution" here, however: generally, the "potential" we
can reach is prescribed by our
culture. Transcending those cultural prescriptions are a major

And since no-one is separate, or an island, (see graphic above with YOU in centre); and we all live
among others, as we achieve various stages of actualizing our potential - others should be able to
notice, or see the changes. There are always outward signs of change - in behaviour, actions
attitude etc. In catholic spiritual terminology that is a
sacrament (outward sign of an inner
change). Without the integration of all our dimensions, success toward wholeness will always elude
us: we will not realize (achieve) our full human potential.

Culture: our culture, through education, the media, advertising etc constantly points out to us
what our "potential is" (actually, they are telling us what it "should be" - "they" know what's  best
for us according the them. While, of course, those are all important elements and components of
human life - but if we leave them just as they are represented there - and not make the act of
stepping beyond we shall always have that vague restlessness inside us - that tells us
"there is
. Many humans have made great strides toward accomplishing their potential, and humankind
has made considerable progress on some levels - not all, by any means -over the centuries.

Shakespeare wrote:
"What a piece of work is man (humankind)!
How noble in reason!
How infinite in faculty!
in form, in moving, how express and admirable!
in action how like an angel!
`in apprehension how like a god!
the beauty of the world!
the paragon of animals! (creatura)"
-Shakespeare (Hamlet)
Spirituality & Humanism:  combining these two usually mutually exclusive concepts results in
"spiritual humanism". While they have generally become opposite, competing concepts and
practices, it was not, and is not, necessary for them to be so. Both are much misused, and
both are very much misunderstood.

When they are combined and integrated they result in
Spiritual Humanism, which includes:
* Spirituality     * Humanism * Religion * Psyche & Soul  * Morals/Ethics. These are treated as
"separate", yet very much parts of a whole; and thus are related and connected concepts.

Spirituality: is an inner sense that there's something greater than oneself: it is a recognition of
a meaning to existence that transcends one's immediate circumstances - it above all deals with a
sense of "connectedness". It can include practices such as meditation and 'bonding rituals' which
support such identity and relationship. It produces a sense of 'belonging' (identification with).
In a broad sense, spirituality is concerned with matters of the spirit. It may include belief in
supernatural powers, the way organized religion does, but its emphasis is on personal
experience. It is a way of living that emphasises a constant awareness of the spiritual dimension
of nature. Yet it does not  acknowledge a contractual relationship between the material world
and the spiritual.

Humanism: is an approach to life with an emphasis on human culture, education and reason.
It began during the Renaissance with a revival of interest in classical Greek and Roman
literature, culture, philosophy and language. Human nature and the dignity of man were
considered to be the ultimate thing, and the present life was emphasized as a worthy event
in itself.

This was in stark contrast to the previous (medieval) emphasis on the present life as simply
being a preparation for a future life. This approach rejected supernaturalism and instead stresses
the individual's dignity and worth and  capacity for self-realization through reason. The emphasis
in humanism is entirely on human interests rather than on religion or the world of nature.

Humanism that believes that the human being is the supreme being is known as secular
humanism. When combined we have: spiritual humanism. However, other concepts, crucial to
the description are involved. Humanism, because it is humans and their cultures and institutions
that are the agents and agencies through which the sacred operates.
Humanism believes in the "perfectibility" of human nature and view reason and education as
the way to achieve that - always bearing in mind that without the spiritual component the
enterprise will fall short, or fail. It tries to achieve its goals without hiding the distasteful, and
often horrible realities of life, and the importance of differences in power and wealth: so does
Spiritual Humanism.

Spirituality (Dawn Cove Abbey definition): self-worth, respect for self and others,
authenticity, honesty, truth, humility, a sense of purpose, initiative, the will to succeed,
commitment to inner growth, desire for meaning, self-awareness (physical, emotional,
intellectual, spiritual), being in the moment, self-transcendence, confidence, enthusiasm, moral
code and ethics, increased awareness of others, self-determination, integration, intuition,
passion, compassion, love, hope, faith, wholeness, openness. Also, a belief in "something/
someone " out there" that we draw upon, or draw from: e.g. God (However you understand
Him/Her, - "Universe", "God", the "Force", "Allah" or a "Higher Power", etc).

Spirituality is above all, recognizing the unity of all things, being connected with something
larger than self, harmony with the universe (some call it God, other use different names),
having just relationships with others, helping others to self-actualize, developing more
responsible interpersonal relationships (Chief Seattle    referred to it as the "web of life").

Historically, and likely before, people have always had a strong spiritual aspect or component in
their lives. The spiritual drive within each human produces the motivation to continue under
whatever circumstances: it is the source of hope, love, kindness, decency, respect and concern
for all life, and true stewardship of the material world in which we live.

Human Potential" is a concept already familiar to millions - but perhaps not exactly in those
words. At Dawn Cove Abbey it is not a new-age practice: it is anything but new: it is based on
the concepts
behind the Judeo-Christian teachings of becoming "better" people. It is this that led
Shakespeare to exclaim, "
What a Piece of  work is man" - see above.

It is accomplished by following the teachings of holy scriptures, and of "doing unto others", and
"treat our neighbour as  ourselves" - which means "learning" - and that learning is the process
through which we activate and enlarge our "human spiritual potential". It is always in concert
with  the "divine" (God, or "Higher Power", etc) - however we understand it.

This site is like a book: with chapters (materials, articles, documents, etc) around a common
theme. The theme is human life, empowerment, blocks, barriers, and achievement, into an
integrated whole.  It represents the culmination of my life work: it is a "
book, because life is dynamic, never static - and full of surprises. The site grows steadily as
items are added, or revised.

Klaas Tuinman
Dawn Cove Abbey
Deerfield, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, Canada 2009
Revised 2020, Meaford, Ontario
know even as also I am known. He could only have been referring to how humankind would
expand their knowledge and potential in the centuries to come. Always in the process of
expanding their potential with the goal of actualizing their potential fully.

There will be transformation: you will be transformed - become a different person. But, in many
ways it will be a solitary journey. Others in your will not join you, nor will they necessarily
understand your quest.  Barriers will be erected, and a gulf will emerge between you and them.
These, most likely, will not be your doing - but theirs.

This is a most important consideration for you, because there is no "undoing" or reverse in this.
Once someone has "seen farther" than those around them a separation or gulf will exist. But -
there are others on that same journey, and once you are in progress, you will encounter some of
them. These will become your "new family" so to speak.

Those who are in the process of developing their full human potential are aware: aware of who
they are, aware of where they are at all times. They live in the moment - yet always aware and  in
touch with the  greater context of their lives like the message of Richard Alpert (Baba Ram Dass)
in his book, "
Be Here Now".

I believe in  "
A healthy mind in a healthy body": an approach based on  "Re-uniting Mind, Body &
Spirit"; that reality is triune, not just dualistic: it is holistic. This makes us "humanistic", and
theistic (not everything in life is reduced to "either-or" choices, it can also be "both-and" or "and-
also" (Jung and Buber).

Physical health is a direct reflection of mental-spiritual health. Helping empower people is my goal.
The "oneness of body and mind/spirit is a core, driving concept at Dawn Cove Abbey. I am firmly
established in the old non-split tradition that blends humanism and theism: the drive to realizing,
and actualizing our full Human Potential - in all its dimensions.

Other names in the Human Potential field are:
Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis and Abraham Maslow, and
Carl Gustav Jung: these men had a profound effect on how we understand people, and how we
help people improve their lives. All these men have also had a profound influence on my training,
my journey, my "education" and learning, and my approach in helping people heal and grow. I
owe them a huge debt.

The Dawn Cove Abbey tradition values the inherent worth, dignity and sacredness of
each person: the
Dawn Cove Abbey tradition is:
* a humanistic - spiritual one (not religious) - a community helping men, women, and children
who are on a transformative journey of: holistic personal growth.

* Humanistic:  because I believe that people are the agents, and our human cultures and
institutions are the agencies.

* Spiritual (connectedness):  because I believe everything (and everyone) is inter-connected
- the web of life.

Features of spirituality
Intra-personal (our inner connection or integration): self-worth, respect for self and
others, authenticity, honesty, truth, humility, a sense of purpose, initiative, the will to succeed,
commitment to inner growth, desire for meaning, self-awareness (physical, emotional,
intellectual), being in the moment, self-transcendence, confidence, enthusiasm, moral code and
ethics, increased awareness of others, self-determination, integration, intuition, passion,
compassion, love, hope, faith, wholeness, openness

Extra-personal (our connectedness with others): recognizing the unity of all things, being
connected with something larger than self, harmony with the universe, having just relationships
with others, helping others to self-actualize, developing more responsible interpersonal
We live in a world where kindness, decency, concern and consideration are viewed with suspicion,
and are often mistaken for weakness. In our current socio-cultural world, these qualities appear to
be more and more an exception, than a rule. My desire is to help promote understanding to
change that through knowledge, understanding,  personal growth and healing.
Dawn Cove Abbey
"Roadside Assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A  © 2007-2020

Questions and comments welcomed.