Whatever the virtues of the medical model in psychotherapy, it does not represent an integrated approach to human wholeness. It is pathology based, fixated on symptoms, and is constrained by the language of biological reductionism. Most tellingly it lacks any grounding in spiritual reality.
By contrast there is the approach to human wholeness represented by the world’s wisdom traditions. Historically the world’s enlightenment traditions have taken on many forms, but within a cosmology that does not reduce spiritual reality to the material. Whether hidden and esoteric or broadly accessible, the wisdom traditions have addressed the human aspiration to wholeness, independent of religious belief-systems or philosophical speculation. In taking up the search for enlightened wisdom and human wholeness and with the help of lineages of understanding, countless individuals have awakened to what has been called the mind of liberation, or our True Nature . . .
And since success in this endeavour involves – as well as depth consciousness – love, the realizers of this Way often go on to become teachers of others.
Thus there has been, flowing like a subterranean river through changing times and circumstances, a living stream of spiritual liberation carving out channels and rivulets in the human experience, spontaneously adapting to the consciousness and conditions of each era and transmitting the dharma of the awakened heart for the sake of all beings . . .
And it is a beautiful thing . . . this perennial transmission of conscious being flowing from the Heart of Existence itself . . . self-generating and self-renewing in the hearts of human beings through all time . . .
And it is an eternal thing . . .
Which brings us to now . . . and what it is we are doing if it is not psychotherapy . . .
At this point in history we find ourselves in a time of extraordinary change . . . and not simply due to the pace of technological development . . . We are also going through changes in the human psyche.
We find ourselves alive in a time where nothing is predictable. The future is a crapshoot. The present is more than we can handle . . . We are the sorcerer’s apprentice, and the genie is out of the bottle . . .
We have engineered societies divorced from the heart . . . We have defined human values in economic terms and we have sacrificed human lives to economic forces . . . as if the purpose of a human life is to be a cog in a soulless machine fuelled by greed and acquisition . . .
And we have set this in place as a direct consequence of our own unconsciousness . . . We have conjured up a world run by our own shadow.
Under the dark dominion of this and in the absence of anything in which to anchor faith, people find themselves adrift . . . Any sense of trust in the traditions and institutions of the past is eroded . . . all hope of a secure future is a mirage . . . all connection with the sacred is dismissed . . .
The cost of this psychic contagion is widespread instability, anxiety and an increasing sense of personal dislocation . . . This is a sickness of the soul . . .
But the world is not completely shrouded in darkness . . . another principle is at work: people are having intimations of a deeper reality . . .
People are not supposed to have intimations of a deeper reality in a society founded on scientific materialism; there is not supposed to be any deeper reality.
But a veil is being lifted . . . People are experiencing synchronicities and moments of Grace . . .
There is a mysterious principle active in the field of consciousness. A world that we thought to be solid can be fluid, can behave like a play of appearances and be psychoid . . .
So what does all this mean?
The Meaning of the Times
We find ourselves born – as the Chinese say – into ‘interesting’ times . . .
Some say we are going through changes in the structure of reality itself . . .
Could this be?
Could the ancients have been right when they described the world as maya . . . as a dream . . . more like a kaleidoscopic mind-realm than a solid ‘something’ . . ?
Some people prefer not to be disturbed by these kinds of thoughts . . . But can there be any doubt that we are experiencing changes in the structures of consciousness . . ?
Everything is changing . . .
The way we think about everything is changing . . .
And if anything can be said with a degree of certainty it is that the world we are in is not the world we think we are in . . .
As Carl Jung’s depth psychology teaches, it is in circumstances such as these – times of cognitive dissonance and psychic stress – that the deeper psyche gets involved . . . and begins to inject its mysterious intelligence . . .
Even so, intimations of the numinous are disturbing to the ego.
The ego prefers its comfort zone . . . it clings to ‘business as usual’ . . . it prefers the familiar over the unknown . . . prefers its vanities and its delusions over reality . . . this is how it keeps itself feeling safe. . .
But this is also the logic of neurosis . . .
In its narcissism the ego attempts to maintain itself in a bubble . . . it inhabits, not reality, not even the world that it is experiencing, but a world it tells itself it is experiencing.
This is literally crazy-making . . . telling oneself that what is happening is not . . . or that what is not happening actually is . . .
It is crazy-making when it is done to us as a child . . . How much more when we are thirty or forty years old and we are doing it to ourselves . . .
And while it sounds crazy, this is actually the ‘normal’ condition . . .
The ‘normal’ ego lives in a self-induced trance, enveloped in a bubble of perpetual self-talk based on what has happened to it in the past . . .
Not only does it inhabit ‘its own little world’, it is interacting with a society of egos each of which is also ‘in its own little world’.
Thus what most people think of as the ‘world’ is actually a consensus trance . . . a sleep walk . . .
And suddenly, mysteriously, in the midst of this there is a moment . . . an ‘emperor has no clothes’ moment . . . when something pops the bubble . . . something pierces the trance . . . and we see reality for a moment . . . the sun breaks through . . .
This is a ‘perennial’ moment . . . an epiphany . . . a life-changing moment for those individuals who can find it in themselves to respond . . .
And this is what we are about. This is our work.
From the moment of response there is set in motion a process that is cosmic in scope, a process that seeks to draw an individual out of delusion and alienation and ultimately into a free and heartfelt recognition of our own nature and of existence itself.
This is the ancient Way . . . a Way that countless individuals have walked . . .
But there may be something particularly significant about this period of time . . . We may have come to a seminal moment – a moment of cosmic call-and-response.
As the wisdom traditions have always affirmed, our true nature is one with the source – with satchitananda - even as our false self is generating suffering . . .
And while it may always be the right time to awaken, there may be a particular opportunity available at this time . . .
And if this is the time that the flower of self-understanding is ready to blossom in us . . . then this would be the moment to get with the program . . .
At any rate, this is our work.
This is the program.