Much confusion and suffering has been caused by establishment medicine through psychiatry and pharmaceuticals, medicating, anaesthetizing, and hospitalizing those on the verge of spiritual breakthroughs. But much confusion and suffering has also been caused by spiritual teachers dealing with groups—sometimes quite large groups of would-be disciples—in ways that generalize the vast variety and diversity of the human psyche. People are not only very different, but not everyone—and particularly not everyone who thinks he is ready—is practically and authentically prepared for spiritual teachings or practices.
The guru today, particularly in the west, needs a knowledge of the western mind, of western neurosis, the length and breadth of western fantasy, the fear body, the depth of anxiety and fantasy and inner conflict, guilt, the defenses of the ego-processes and egoic contraction, character strategy, sub-personalities, scripts, life statements, expectations and assumptions about life, self-worth and self-esteem, the seemingly endless ability to blame, self-destruction and self-aggrandizement.. it's a tall order!
But looking at it from the other direction is at least as hard. For the psychotherapist today needs to be able to read a client-seeker spiritually, recognize the soul, work with the capacity and potential for spiritual growth and development, be alert to signs of spiritual as well as psychological and advanced psychic awakenings, be able to competently test and diagnose signs of psychological weakness and deliver remedial treatment that is still needed and which may preclude the spiritual aspiration, through psychological splitting and spiritual delusion.
Awakening To Our Divine Nature
There is only one possible solution if we take these circumstances as seriously as they deserve to be taken. The psychotherapist should be a guru and the guru should be a psychotherapist. Psychology and spirituality are no longer separate. They must merge. Psycho-spirituality must become the new paradigm. It is analogous to specialist medicine treating an organ or a physical system without any regard for the whole person. The specialist is limited... to a specialty. Psychology at one time was a branch of philosophy. Now, unless it is coupled with spirituality, humanity will continue to see life as a-sacred, a-spiritual, and relate to people, communities, and the planet materially, emotionally, and rationally only. This is not enough; we urgently need to relate to all and everything spiritually, because it is our true nature, because it is the source of much-needed compassion, because it is how we can bring real love, impersonal love, universal love, into humanity's relationship with all people, all life forms, states, countries, the global forum. With a spiritual basis for life we can live wisely, caringly, sensitively, and consciously. This is the age of human beings awakening to their divine nature. The other possibility is unthinkable, a-spiritual and sacrilegious.
The golden link of signposts through the ages connects us to transcendental realization through the agency of the guru. The guru is the fundament. He or she is absolutely necessary and without the guru spiritual practice is mere dalliance.
Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at email@example.com.