Many philosophers, artists and mystical teachers have reminded us of the existence of other realms of reality, whether in nature, in the cosmos or within the core of our own being. I have found that in the healing process, it is imperative not only to address the external influences on the development of our ego but also work on developing and accessing the higher self or the soul. It is my belief that the future work of psychology and healing will focus more on the development of the soul and the awakening of higher consciousness within us.
Most therapies that include “soul work”, will encourage clients to develop some form of meditative practice, or work with altered states of consciousness. Besides meditation, the therapist may utilize hypnosis, past life regression, energy work or spiritual inquiry as a way to expand understanding and tap into inner guidance, healing and personal transformation.
This form of soul centered psychology, allows for an exploration of personality and its hidden shadow self as well as the discovery of the transcendental self which is unchanging and pure. In the western world we have a lot of experience, techniques and understanding regarding the personality and the mind. So what can be known about the soul ? In certain eastern spiritual traditions , it is taught that the soul is asleep in the human form and is only experienced on rare occasions or through great spiritual discipline.
Some believe that the soul may be awakened in moments of great shocks which pierce us enough to reveal our true sacredness. These shocks can come through trauma or loss or on the opposite spectrum of the human experience through great victory or deep love. In those moments we may discover the divine nature that connects us all, that does not have a personal identity. The soul that manifests after being pierced through significant life experiences, is an inner presence which can bring profound realizations, inner peace, and a sense of unity and love. We do not need to wait for these great shocks to awaken our soul, we can develop this inner resource through the therapeutic relationship while addressing the experiences and issues that we encounter in everyday life.
In my practice I have come to a place where I recognize the importance of connecting western psychology to eastern spirituality in order to study, understand and develop all parts of ourselves and create the kind of balance and harmony that will take us into the new world, acknowledging the visible and invisible, the physical and the metaphysical aspect of who we are.
“Western science is approaching a paradigm shift of unprecedented proportions, one that will change our concepts of reality and of human nature, bridging the gap between ancient wisdom and modern science, and reconciling the differences between Eastern spirituality and Western pragmatism.” —Grof