This paper says that looking at the empirical world, matter, space and time seem to determine what the individual thinks and does. On the other hand, there are suggestive evidence that mind exists apart from the human body. The paper says that this leaves us with two approaches to psychology, scientific psychology that studies how body affects mind and spiritual psychology that shows how mind affects body. It says that the two approaches do not mix, for their parameters are different. The paper concludes that to help people we have to employ both scientific and spiritual psychotherapies.
Scientific and spiritual psychology needed to help people
by Ozodi Thomas Osuji
If you observe yourself and other people you would probably come to the conclusion that your body and how it adapted to the environment determined your personality, your self concept. By a process of generalization you would also conclude that body determines mind. That is to say that you would say that mind is epiphenomenal, is the product of bodily processes, especially processes in the human brain.
This is the scientific approach to psychology. Science studies matter, space and time and essentially teaches the philosophy of materialism (that philosophy states that matter made human beings who they are).
Yet there is evidence of individuals leaving their bodies and experiencing themselves outside their bodies, such as in out of body experiences and near death experiences. Moreover, in our dreams at night our minds produce other personalities, house them in bodies that seem to make them behave as they do, produce the entire world and thus suggesting that mind is not determined by the individual’s body for the individual’s mind in sleep-dream produces other personalities and could have made him any of those personalities.
If you say that it is the individual’s body, his brain that produced the many persons in his dream and gave them different personalities you have not answered the question: if the individual’s brain (mind) can produce many personalities why did it seem to produce his personality and make it seem determined by his body; it could have produced a different personality for him and also made it seem produced by his body.
Simply stated there are many reasons lending credence to the thesis that mind exists apart from body.
It would seem that mind is playing games with its self; that it enters body and makes it seem like body determined its doing. The nature of the game seems to be for mind to make it seem like matter determined it and for mind to completely forget that it exists outside matter.
In this game scientists seem the most realistic persons for they seem to study a world where matter seems to determine people. It is simply not easy to believe that mind determined body; what is easy to believe is that body determined mind, as scientists believe.
Some metaphysical systems say that matter, space and time do not even exist, that the universe only seems to exist in our dreams. If the material universe does not exist and is in our dream how can it determine mind?
Hinduism and A course in miracles say that the world and people are dream figures in our minds. They say that our minds seem infinite in numbers but in reality are joined as one mind.
This then means that there are two psychologies, scientific psychology that studies how matter (body) seems to determine the human personality and mind and spiritual psychology that shows how mind produced the human body and made it seem to produce the human personality.
The two psychologies cannot be mixed for they operate with different parameters. They must be studied separately and not mixed.
The Institute of Scientific and Spiritual Psychology (ISSP) studies both the scientific psychology that says that mind is determined by matter as well as spiritual psychology that says that mind determines matter and the human personality. The two approaches to people are studied simultaneously for they give a fuller picture of who human beings are and help them cope with the exigencies of their lives better than an approach that sees them only as matter or as spirit.
MY PERCEPTION OF HUMAN NATURE
In this paper I will summarize how I see people and how their psychological issues are to be addressed in psychotherapy. I see people as the Psychologist to whom I am most indebted saw them. Alfred Adler wrote many books but his psychology can be summarized in a few sentences. It is as follows. People are born with a mind that enables them to appreciate their position on planet earth. In childhood they appreciate the forces arrayed against them. They feel an urge to do what they have to do to survive. At some point they compare their efforts to the forces opposed to their survival and draw the conclusion that they are not powerful. They individually feel inadequate to do what nature demands from them for survival. Each human being feels inferior.
People feel inferior differently, some more so than others; those born with weak bodies, what Adler called organ inferiority, feel the world more stressful on their bodies ; they feel challenged by the tasks demanded for their survival than those born into healthy bodies.
The human child feels inferior, inadequate and powerless Vis a Vis the forces of nature (and society if he is placed in an unloving situation). However, there is a will to live in every human child. The will to live does not accept the child’s powerlessness lying down. The child does not roll over and permit nature to destroy him. He struggles to do whatever he has to do to survive. Whereas he feels weak he strives to feel strong and powerful.
He does so because he recognizes that strength, energy and power are instruments for his survival. He does not seek power for the sake of power but because power is instrumental for his survival in an impersonal and stressful world.
The human child moves from a state of minus to a state of plus, from powerlessness to powerfulness. In reality if you are born weak you are weak; wishing to be powerful would not change your biological given and make you powerful. Thus, the compensatory effort to seem powerful is mostly in the mind of the child and is not going to change his situation. Nature can snuff the child out at any point in time it wishes (via diseases, natural forces and other people).
The weak feeling child generally desires a big, powerful self to enable him deal with the exigencies of his life. Adler says that such children pursue feeling of superiority. The child seeks superiority but is not superior; the superiority feeling is imaginary and fictive, it is like whistling in the dark to make a scared child feel like it is confident.
What is called mental illnesses are largely rooted in peoples efforts to appear powerful and important in the face of their opposite. The human being seeks a very important, powerful and superior self when in fact he has an unimportant, powerless self. Nature can snuff out the individual’s life at any point in time. Therefore, the feeling of power and worth is largely delusional (though it seems real to the person seeking it).
Delusion is belief in what is not true as true. Here one thinks that one is important and or powerful or seeks to be so. One is not important and powerful. Therefore those who feel important and powerful are deluded.
Delusion disorder results from belief that one has a big, important self. No one has a big, important self in reality. Yet people must strive after big, important self for it is useful to feel so. The exigencies of life require people to pursue power if they are to do what they have to do to survive. One must see ones self as important to go out and work to make a living to support ones body and life.
The body and life one supports by earning a living for it eventually would die, and decay and smell worse than feces thus is not important.
All mental disorders, be they schizophrenia, mania, delusion, depression, personality disorders and anxiety disorders etc are rooted in peoples quest for big, important and powerful selves. To live on earth and as a human being is to desire worthwhile and powerful self when in reality the human body is totally nothing.
The human body is made of matter, mostly of nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon and oxygen (and traces of other elements such as potassium, magnesium, phosphor, sodium, calcium, iron, zinc etc). These elements are composed of electrons, protons and neutrons. Those particles are composed of quarks and or photons. Ultimately, all particles can be reduced to photons which can be reduced to nothing.
Thus, the human body came from nothingness and when it dies it decays and returns to the nothingness from where it came.
If you cremated a dead human body you would reduce it to a pound of ashes that has no monetary value (although it may have emotional value for the loved ones of the dead person).
People’s bodies are nothing; they are food for worms, worms, who, in turn, are food for other animals. Ultimately, all animals decay to nothingness. Thus, to live in an animal body sustained with food is to live in nothing.
People know that their bodies have no value and are worthless yet they struggle to maintain their bodies; they literally enslave themselves to doing pointless works to earn livings for their bodies, for nothingness. They must deny the fact that their bodies are nothing to work hard to support them.
Everywhere on planet earth people deny the valulessness of their bodies and presume that their bodies have value. This is their first belief in what is not true as true, their first delusional trait.
The desire to protect the human body is at the root of social organization, government, law, police, and military and so on. Much of human activity is aimed at protecting the human body, a body that would eventually die, decompose and return to nothingness. Yet if you were to harm the human body you would be sent to prison. Society and its governments and laws exist to protect the human body, to protect nothingness.
The human body has no value yet people must believe that it has value to live in their bodies. To be human is to be deluded for it means belief that ones body has value when clearly it does not have value. Nature does not recognize the value of human body for it treats peoples bodies as it treats animals and trees; a tsunami can drown millions of people without caring for their supposed value; so can other natural forces, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanoes, flood, hurricanes, cyclones, draught, plagues etc.
The belief that one has a self that has worth, value and importance and power is fictional, is false yet people must have such belief to live.
Those who exaggerate the beliefs in their worth and power are those who are generally seen as mentally ill. Mentally ill people are exaggerations of normal people. Normal people are also mentally ill in the sense that they believe in what is not true as true, their bodies worth and value.
(I must say that a casual reading of the above paragraphs could suggest that the writer is depressed and has pessimistic view of human beings. The salient point is that human existence has depressing as well as exhilarating aspects to it (pursuing knowledge is exhilarating). In many people’s unconscious minds, if not conscious minds are depression from the awareness of the fate of human beings: nothingness, oblivion, finitude etc. We must first understand the problem so that we may deal with it rationally. Folks are given anti depressant medication to stimulate their bodies into masking their underlying existential depression. Those medications work for a while before such individuals return to the awareness of the human fate. With some philosophical thinking their sadness could be abated.)
THE EGO AND ITS DEFENSE
Each individual human being has a sense of self, an ego. That sense of self is that he is apart from other people and from the entirety of existence. He is separated from the universe in which he lives. He is over here and other people are over there. There is space and distance (time) separating them. He is housed in a body that can be hurt and feel pain. What is currently causing him pain, say, sickness may not be causing pain to those in different bodies. Thus, the individual by logical necessity must see himself as apart from other people. To be a human being is to have an ego, a sense of separation from other persons.
Each person struggles to defend his ego self housed in body with food, medications, clothes, shelter and so on. He knows that his body is fragile and if not protected would die. If you did not eat food, wear clothes, live in houses you would die. In (winter) Alaska, where I am writing this paper you would die in a matter of hours if you were outside unprotected. To live is to protect ones body. To live is to defend ones body.
To live is also to defend ones psychological self. One is aware that one would die and could be harmed so one defends ones self. Psychoanalysts have described the various ego defense mechanisms we employ in defending our egos, such as repression, suppression, denial, projection, displacement, rationalization, blaming, reaction formation, sublimation, fantasy, avoidance, anger, pride, shame, fear and so on. People perceive their egos attacked and defend them. For example, if one feels ones self belittled by other peoples actions one tends to do what makes one seem important in ones eyes and in other peoples eyes.
To be a human being is to have an ego and defend that ego. When one stops defending ones ego and body one dies (ones body dies and since ego seems to live with body ones ego dies along with the death of ones body…later we shall grapple with whether the self survives our physical death but for now what is salient is that to be a human being is to have a sense of separated self housed in body).
Each person has an ego. Normal persons’ egos tend to be realistic; that is, normal persons assume their importance but do not exaggerate their importance. A normal person feels important but he does not feel too much importance, as a deluded person, such as a manic person feels.
If another person shoots a bullet into your head you would die. Your life can be terminated at any point in time. A life that can be destroyed is not exactly powerful and important. Yet one must have a sense of importance to do what one has to do to live. People must believe in their worth and significance to live.
To have ego self, especially big ego self is to live in psychological pain, for one would fear not getting what one desires that maintains ones ego.
For our present purposes, what is salient is that to have ego, especially a grandiose ego is to live in psychological pain. If it were possible to have no ego self at all, to have no separated self, to have only unified self consciousness clearly one would feel no psychological pain. The real question is whether one can have unified self consciousness, or whether people are condemned to having only separated self consciousness and live with its pains?
It is self evident that to the extent that people shrink their egos from ego seeking excessive importance and power to humble egos that accept their fragility and vulnerability without compensating with fictive sense of power to that extent they are normal. The ego must be shrunk down if people are to live peaceful and happy lives.
Oriental religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Zen practice meditation. The idea is that the individual has a different self that he is not aware of, that different self is considered his real self. The real self is said to be joined and unified with all selves whereas the self the individual is currently aware of, considered his false self, is separated from other selves (or has the illusion that it is separated from other selves).
That real self is seen as one with Brahman (God). The individual’s real self is seen as Atman who is one with Brahman. Brahman and Atman are unified, are one joined self. In the temporal universe, on the other hand, the individual is not aware that he is Atman/Brahman. Instead, he sees his self as the separated self, the ego self (Hinduism calls it Ahankara).
On earth we live through what Orientals call our false selves, the separated selves housed in bodies. The goal of meditation is to transcend the false ego, separated self and become aware of the unified Atman/Brahman self.
In meditation the individual is told to stop thinking from his usual ego self. Right now I am in ego mode. I am thinking and typing from my ego self. In meditation I am told to recognize that my real self is not the self that thinks and types this paper. I am told that I have a different self. I am told to tune out the ego self and whatever it says.
One of the Upanishads said, Neti, Neti, not this not that; whatever you can consciously think of as your self is not your real self; you can only consciously think of the ego false self. Therefore, you must consciously refuse to give in to the ego thinking that you normally have.
Thus, you sit quietly and try to silence your thinking. You remind yourself that whatever you consciously think of is of the ego and its world and not of your real self. You reject all ego thinking. You tell yourself that whatever that ego tells you about you, other people and reality is not true. You tell you that you do not know what the truth is. You tell you that you do not know who you are, you are not the ego; you do not know who other people are, they are not the egos and bodies you see them as; you do not know what anything is or means. You just need to keep quiet. In a mind swept clean of all ego categories and ego chattering, a mind emptied of ego, a void truth dawns on its own.
It is said that if you can negate your ego separated self, attain inner silence, develop inner void, that is have no ego self concept, no ego thinking, empty mind that you will initially feel peaceful and happy. The initial gift of meditation is peace and joy.
If you continue with meditation it is said that at some point you would notice your ego self literally disappear. You would no longer know who you are. You would panic and try to return to your old ego self. If you persist in your meditation, at some point you would experience unified spirit self, aka Brahman/Atman; you would experience a sense of oneness with all selves, a state where there is no you and other people, no seer and seen, no subject and object, just one self that has no beginning and no end, one self that is simultaneously infinite selves. In that state you feel eternal and know that you are all selves. That state is said to be blissful, peaceful and happy. It has many names, including Samadhi, Nirvana, and Satori, Mystical union with God.
The objective of mediation is to transcend the temporal self and attain awareness of the real self; a self said to be unified, as opposed to the separated ego self.
When a person has attained this unified self he is said to have become enlightened to his real self; he is now illuminated to his true self, God. He is subsequently characterized by lack of fear of death for he knows that his real self is eternal. He lives in peace, seeing the world as a dream, his dream and not taking the dream seriously.
IN SEARCH OF SCIENTIFIC METAPHYSICS
Clearly, Oriental religions adapted to the unique culture of Asians. If you are in a Hindu Temple or a Buddhist Temple you do not mistake that you are in an Oriental environment. It is not necessary to try to force ones self to be like Oriental folks.
We can do for metaphysics what we have done for the sciences (physics, chemistry, biology etc). We can find a methodological approach to spiritual matters that is not rooted in any particular culture, not in Oriental culture or European culture but something that is self evident. We must find a path to attaining the real self, if it exists, that is self evident and is testable.
We do not need to believe in something for it to be true; truth should not require belief to be true; it ought to be self evident.
We need a new metaphysics that is not dependent on the culture of Orientals and or any other people’s cultures. We can figure out a way to transcend our ego selves and reach our real selves, if, in fact, there is such a thing as real self. This is what we try to do at the Institute of scientific and spiritual psychology.
CONCEPTION OF GOD AND MAN
The spiritual psychology taught at the Institute says that there is only one self in the universe, one self with infinite selves. That self is nameless but for convenience it can be called God.
God remains as God but through his infinite selves, sons, dreams this world and through his Holy Spirit corrects the evil aspect of his dream.
God created the world through his son. God is to be blamed if we need to blame anyone for the sorrows of this world. We do not have to blame the son of God, us, for the evils of this world and then have God ride to rescue us through his Holy Spirit. That is cowardly theology, the type the Jesus of A course in miracles teaches.
Hinduism is manlier in seeing Brahman, God as the dreamer of this world. The Institute rejects aspects of A course in miracles and accepts aspects of Hinduism.
The institute teaches that if there are infinite universes, as contemporary physics suggests that there are, some probably contain our human ancestors and what folks used to call angels that guide people on earth, counseling them while remaining unseen. All these make it rational to ask for their helps (in what folks traditionally called praying).
The biblical Jesus used to pray to his father and even taught his apostles to pray to God to forgive them their sins provided that they first forgive those who sinned against them and to give them their daily bread.
Therefore, praying is useful means of communicating with God and humbling ones big ego (prayer recognizes that ones ego is not in charge of any thing, that other forces, seen and unseen play roles in our lives).
ISSP SEES THE WORLD AS A DREAM
As in Hinduism, the Institute teaches that the world is a dream. If we know that life on earth is eternal and that we are spirit we would not be living in body for what would be the point. Therefore, the dream requires us to totally forget that we are spirits and identify with body to make living in body worth while. If we remembered that we are spirit we would exit this world and not do what we do here.
If we knew for sure that the world is a dream the question is why not awaken to the dreamless, spirit state. Those who are enlightened to their non dream nature wake up.
Regarding teaching others to wake up, to realize that the world is a dream, if they knew that it is a dream why would they be here? It is necessary that people do not know that this world is a dream to be here; they cannot know that they are spirit and still live in the dream that they are bodies.
DREAM INTELLIGENT DESIGN OF THE WORLD
There is talk of intelligent design of this world. How can an intelligent God design this world of suffering? If intelligent design is true why would God design the human body and go live in it knowing that it would die, why put people into a place of suffering.
The only idea that makes sense is that there is an intelligent force that chose to forget his nature and tried to live as the opposite of his nature, went to sleep and still has some intelligence and uses it to design this material world. If and when it remembers itself as spirit it awakens from the dream.
In truth God extended to another God. Both of them are the same. Through the extension God seems to be sleeping and doing what we do on earth.
God entered the dream as the Holy Spirit to correct it and make it happy and peaceful so as to play better in it.
There is no one to blame here, for one force is doing it all. This is what makes sense to rational persons. This is a correction of the aspect of A course in miracles that does not make sense. This view is closer to Hinduism but is not it. It is a unique interpretation of God.
MY PSYCHOLOGICAL HISTORY
Psychology and psychiatry are interested in understanding how people adapt to the realities of this world; they are not interested in taking people out of this world, that is, escaping to spirit (they keep quiet about spirit and let religion deal with that, assuming that it exists, science cannot verify its existence). This is as it should be. Unfortunately, it is not as it is. Extant psychology is loaded down with Western values. Let us transform it into real psychology that is scientific, not just something based on European culture.
The way the West sees people is not the way many non-Westerners necessarily see them. Here is how I see the person I know best, me. I see me as an idealistic personality. Here is why I developed idealistic personality.
I inherited Cytochrome C Oxidase deficiency. This is a deficiency of the cytochrome enzyme in the mitochondria (in all cells in the human body). It is complicated to explain its nature here. Suffice it to say that it results in deficient absorption of energy from food. The cells in ones body as a result feel less nourished even if one has adequate food. One feels physically pained and stressed.
Most children with this disorder in its full blown state die in their teenage years. Where the disorder is not extremely pathological some children with it survive. But their lives are generally miserable.
This disorder led me to feel weak and powerless (to do anything about it). As a child I felt weak and inferior. In Alfred Adler’s categories, I reacted to the feeling of inferiority with exaggerated desire for adequacy and power. I pursued power and importance.
In childhood I felt my body problematical (and still do) and rejected it. I had total rejection of my body. I desired to replace the rejected, pained body with an idealized healthy body.
Karen Horney talked about how some children reject their selves and use their minds to create ideal selves and pursue the idealized selves. They are not their ideal selves but they pursue them with obsessive compulsive energy. They feel anxious from anything that makes them feel like they are not going to become their idealized selves.
In pursuit of the idealized self such children tend to struggle hard to succeed. They are afraid of failing and do whatever it takes to become successful. Some of them become good students and attain academic heights. Others seek ideal self through other areas of human endeavor, such as amassing wealth and power.
I was successful at schooling. However, in my thirties I recognized that no matter what I did I was still not my ideal self. My body was still the crummy, pain wracked body that made me feel weak. As long as I had the same genetic disorder(s) I was not going to be ideal (strong). That is to say that the rejection of my body was not going to give me an alternative perfect body. I was not going to become ideal in body or anything. All my efforts to seem ideal came to nothing. I might as well stop questing for ideals.
When the person pursuing ideal self concept gives up that pursuit he experiences his underlying sadness. The person running towards ideal self actually has some depression that he is trying to flee from by seeking success.
When I stopped seeking success I felt existentially depressed. I had no more wish to struggle to amount to any thing significant in life.
Such despair is usually a turning point in folk’s lives. It is at this point that they give up on the world of appearances and seek alternatives to it, such as spirituality. In the meantime the individual recognizes that he is not ideal and from that recognition learns many things about himself.
I learned that no line of work on earth had given me the worth that I sought so I stopped working hard in any kind of work. Thereafter, I worked half heartedly, I worked just enough to keep myself alive but I was not dedicated to what I was doing.
I believe that the reason for this was that I had low wish to live in a pained body; I was existentially depressed and do not see any need to do what I have to do to live in such pained body.
My will to live was now low; it had never been high to begin with; I have felt low from the day I was born. I had always sought escape from active living. Life had been too much pain for me; I was always seeking escape to a less pained life.
I have never lived robustly because my body has never been robust. I do not have a strong desire to pursue women, for to me sex is a few minutes of activity and I do not see why I should devote the time it takes to court a woman or seek the money to sustain the expense of maintaining a woman in a relationship.
PEOPLE ARE INTELLIGENT ANIMALS
Clearly, people’s bodies are animal bodies but the idealist does not like his animal form and rejects it. I had rejected my animal bodily reality and tried to transform it to a mental ideal version of it. The pursuit of ideal self is really a desire to transcend the human body to a non-physical self, a self that is a mental construct but not physical reality. The fact, however, is that peoples bodies are animal bodies and there is nothing one can do to change that reality. People are simply intelligent animals and cannot be made what they are not, ideal.
One must have clarity in ones mind about what led to ones self rejection and pursuit of ideal self. Every thing in this world was designed for me to hate my body and not take my body and this world seriously. The trick is to realize that ones body is animal body and still love ones self and other people’s selves; one must over look ones and other people’s imperfect bodies and love their selves.
I learned that I have a desire to tell nature what it should be and do (give people joy, peace and happiness and eternal life). I also learned that I want to tell people what to do (live lovingly etc.).
So why do I do that, why not merely observe natural processes, why the need to tell nature and people what to be and or do?
It is because nature was very cruel to my body so I wanted to tame it by telling it what to do. This is wishful thinking; imagine me telling nature to be nice, since when has nature done what people ask it to do for them?
In reality, the most that people are able to do is study what nature is and does and understand it and develop a technology to cope with it as it is, not as they want it to become. In my case this means to study and understand my body and find a medical technology that deals with it and metaphysics and psychology that makes my mind peaceful.
I learned that nature made my body problematical; my problematic body led me to pursue becoming a big ego. Thereafter, I realized that I can not attain a big ego and embarked on trying to give it up. To the extent that I shrunk the big ego I felt peace and joy.
IDEALISM MEANS THAT ONE IS ALREADY DEFEATED BY REALITY
My self diagnosis is idealistic personality. This diagnosis does not exist in Western psychological or psychiatric nomenclature. Why am I so?
Since I was born I have felt unable to do what the world calls for my survival; my body was overwhelmed by pain and stress. Objectively, I could not do what the physical world called on me to do to adapt to it. Thus, I used my mind to try to adapt to the world idealistically. I used my mind to figure out ideal self and ideal scenarios and try to become them. But no one can become ideal.
Idealism means that one is already defeated by the exigencies of life in body; it means that one has given up on this world’s reality; one has accepted defeat and said that one cannot do anything demanded by the world at the realistic level; instead, one merely dream about how to improve the world of reality, the self, other selves, social institutions. One is engaged in wishful thinking, in magical thinking, in fantasy ego defense.
In reality, all that one can do is figure out reality as it is and adapt to it. A person chasing ideals does not do what the real world calls for hence not adapted to the world (and not make a decent living).
Normal persons are persons who have adapted to the reality of this world; they are not defeated, as idealists are; they are not seeking escape from the world of reality; they do what scientists and technologists do, adapt to the real world. Normal persons adapt to the world on its terms.
Those who tend to execute normal adaptations to the exigencies of the world generally are those who inherited healthy and or strong bodies.
Normal persons, for example, seek a religion that gives them hope in life after they die, for they want their egos to exist forever, but they are not interested in escapist metaphysics. They tune out religions such as Hinduism that ask them to negate the world and escape from it.
If I teach a spiritual psychology that asks people to escape from the world they would not be buyers; there would be no takers for my services. A spiritual psychology like A course in miracles appeals to escapists, idealists only, who are few in number, but not to larger humanity that are adapted to this world. One must therefore be careful in what spiritual psychology one teaches.
Why am I even interested in spiritual psychology when my issues are biological and need to be related to at the biological level. What has spirit got to do with inherited medical disorders? My foray into spiritual psychology is part of my escapist tendency, my idealistic approach to life, my inability to adapt to earthly reality as it is.
Seeking escape, wishful thinking, magical thinking, using fantasy ego defense is natural response of a body under stress. It is not a fluke that I sought idealism. I had to do so as long as I had my body. Any one with my body must do the same thing. My father, grandfather and my children are like me in physical structure and consequent psychological adaptation to their world; I must understand the correlation of body and personality and help them understand it.
If I ask why I have the type of personality I have the answer is very simple, my body determined my idealistic personality.
The realistic, that is the scientific thing to do is to understand what is going on and not moralize against it (moralization is idealism, fantasy).
Having understood it to ask how I could redirect the pursuit of ideals that are not going to come into being to realistic behavior.
Transforming idealism to realism (not stupid realism) is my function. We do not need to make the mistake of Western psychoanalysts in calling peoples idealistic behavior and self rejection cute names like neurosis.
We have to teach people to accept their problematic bodies and still love their real selves and not seek escape in non-existent religious or ideological heavens.
My natural function is to propagate real psychology, not the phony psychology of the West that does not address the reality that the entire human body determined the human self structure.
Real Psychology takes into consideration spiritual psychology but not as a means of escaping from this world.
HOW I BECAME INTERESTED IN SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY
By my late thirties I had seen enough of what is generally called scientific psychology to know that it is useful but not really curative of mental disorders. Scientific psychology can accurately test people’s personalities and mental statuses and ascertain who people’s empirical selves are but beyond that it really does nothing else for them. People with psychological issues go to psychotherapists and perhaps understand their issues but seldom become healed. What we have are more knowledgeable but not healed persons.
There is not one instance in which psychiatry has healed one psychotic. Psychiatry can accurately diagnose schizophrenia, mania, delusion, depression, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders and so on but so far it has not been able to heal them. The medications given to the mentally ill seem to control the gross symptoms of their mental disorders but do not heal those disorders.
Psychology and psychiatry have their uses; nevertheless, I realized that they are not all that is needed if we are going to help people cope with the exigencies of their lives. Therefore, I sought additional information on how to help people. I threw myself into searching for alternative means of helping people. I read up on Christianity (its theology) and Oriental religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen, and Taoism etc) and New Age religions (Unity Church, Religious Science and so on) and African religions. I learned a lot from all these readings but none of them seemed to provide the answer that I am looking for.
At a Unity Church at Portland, Oregon, a fellow told me about a book called A course in miracles and said that I might find some answers in it. I went to the Church’s book store and bought a copy of the book. I tried reading it. I could not make sense of it. Nevertheless, I forced my self to read it to the end, all 1200 pages of it. Still, I did not understand anything that the book was saying. There was a group that meets at the Church to study the book, so I joined them with the goal of understanding what the book is all about. I attended these weekly meetings and still did not understand what the book is all about. I quit attending and threw the book away.
Later on, I separated from my wife and moved out of our house and moved into a rooming house. One evening I saw a fellow tenant, Terry, reading A course in miracles. I told him that I had tried to read the book and could not make sense of it. He undertook to explain what the book is saying to me. I went and bought another copy of the book and this time read it with some understanding.
Somehow, I became very angry at Jesus. I said to him: 2000 years ago you reportedly came to the world and taught your followers in parables that few of them understood their meaning. Folks divided themselves into sects with each claiming to represent what you actually taught. They then fought each other. More wars have probably been fought by groups claiming to represent what you taught than wars fought by other religious folks. You have given the world a lot of pain by your refusal to teach whatever was your philosophy in plain language.
If, in fact, you came along and dictated A course in miracles to Helen Schucman (she was a professor of psychology at Columbia University, New York, and claimed that she heard the voice of Jesus telling her to write and she obeyed and wrote the book that is now called A course in miracles), why didn’t you do so in simple prose that every person can understand. Truth does not have to be written in convoluted and highfalutin language that very few persons can understand. I certainly cannot understand your book. If a man with a doctorate degree and is relatively smart cannot understand what you wrote how in the world do you expect the average Joe Blow to understand your book.
Well, I was angry at Jesus for writing this book, if, in fact, he did. For the second, time I threw away the book and tried to move on with my life.
It was in this state of mind that one day I got home from work (around 6PM, Seattle Time) and went and sat in front of my computer and tried to compose the thoughts that went through my mind that day (I generally keep a daily journal of whatever thoughts cross my mind that I think are useful).
I sat down and began typing. Suddenly, the room was dark, I mean pitch dark. Six O’clock in the evening in Seattle during the summer generally is still pretty bright. So, I got up to go find out why my room was dark. I wanted to go look outside the window (I was sitting with my back to the window). I turned towards the window and noted that it was very bright outside. So why was it dark in my room? Okay, turn on the electric light. I took a few steps towards the power switch and was in the middle of the room when my awareness shifted and I was no longer in the room.
I was now at Venice Beach, California (I lived close it and frequented it when I was at graduate school at UCLA). I was carrying my five year old son, Kelechi, on my back. We were gamboling, with me jumping up and down to entertain him. As we proceeded on this hopscotch behavior, I noticed a man, attired in the Catholic Church’s Pope’s white robe sitting on a chair reading a book (the book was on a table). There was a beach umbrella over his head. He was the only one at the beach. Something about him attracted my attention.
The man looked totally white, as if he is composed of light; you could look through him. I was fascinated by his unique appearance and moved towards him to go find out what manner of man he is.
As I got closer to the man I immediately knew that I was looking at Jesus Christ. That is correct, I saw the old boy himself right in front of my very eyes.
I looked down at the book he is reading and it is A course in miracles. The rage that had filled my mind when I was wondering why Jesus came back this time and wrote another book in a language that very few could understand returned to me. I decided to control my anger and talk to him in a civil manner.
So, I said: you are reading A course in miracles. He ignored me and kept reading. Generally, I do not like to be ignored. I am a very proud man and do not consider any man my better, not even Jesus Christ. Thus, I felt mad that the man ignored me. I tried another maneuver and said: I have read that book and tried to understand what it is saying but could not make sense of it. Jesus still ignored me.
The scene was reminiscent of the episode in the Bible when the Jews brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus and asked him how to deal with her, whether to punish her, as the laws of Moses said, or forgive her, as he, Jesus preached. The Jews wanted to entrap Jesus into negating the teachings of their Mosaic law that required that adulterers be stoned to death and use it as a pretext to arrest him as a law breaker. Aware of what they wanted to do, Jesus initially ignored them but later asked for the person who has not sinned to cast the first stone at the adulterous woman. Since all are sinners they left the woman alone and went away. The implication is that we are all sinners and none of us is qualified to punish other sinners. Jesus told the woman that her sin is forgiven her, thus reaffirming his new gospel: forgiveness and love.
Being ignored made me angry. I could no longer control my anger and muttered to me something to the effect: you Jews always write in complicated language, confusing people instead of writing in plain English that even elementary school kids can understand. I decided to leave the man to his book and took a step walking away from him.
The man finally looked up and said: this book is useful to some people. There are many other ways to be useful to people. Go write books that will be useful to some people. At that point the episode ended. Light returned to my room.
I had never had such experience before! Was I dreaming? Was it what folks call vision? Was it hallucination? I do not know what to call it. All I know is what I experienced.
I went to my computer and typed what I had just experienced. I tried to understand what it was all about. I called a few friends and told them what a weird experience I just had.
I am scientific in my approach to phenomena. In that light, I said that I was probably dreaming or hallucinating; that I had a sudden dream while standing in the middle of my room.
I was raised a Catholic. Even though I had long ago left the church and declared myself agnostic (at age fourteen) I still had a soft spot in my heart for the Universal Church. Moreover, I really, really liked the Catholic Pope at that time, Pope John Paul I had even gone to Rome to catch a glimpse of my beloved John Paul).
I interpreted the dream thus: my mind produced a dream whereby I projected out Jesus and made him look like the Pope, my symbol of a Holy man (after all Catholics call the Pope the Holy Father). My mind projected out a man who looks like the Catholic Pope (since in my childhood I was told that the Pope is the holiest man on earth) and gave him the role of Jesus. My mind produced the Jesus character. My mind made the Jesus character say what he said to me. The whole thing was produced by my mind. Our minds produce all sorts of dreams when we sleep and this is one such production. This particular dream is unusual and interesting, though.
Dreams, psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler and Carl Jung tell us have meaning for the dreamer, but not necessarily for other persons. So what meaning does this dream have for me? Why did my mind produce a character it called Jesus and have him read A course in miracles and eventually have him tell me to go write books that would be useful to other people? I solicited interpretations from my friends as to what the dream means.
Eventually, I settled on the following interpretation. My mind is in competition with A course in miracles (and its alleged source, Jesus). I have an ambivalent attitude towards A course in miracles (and Christianity in general). It seems to contain profound psychological insights into people yet it seems like metaphysical mumbo jumbo. My mind would like me to go write books that have similar insights and a reasonable metaphysics.
My mind had the Jesus it produced tell me to go do what I want to do: write books to replace A Course in miracles (improve muddled Christianity). My mind having been socialized to see Jesus as the authority figure on religious matters produced him to give me the permission to go do what I already want to do, write books on religious matters. The whole thing is my doing, not Jesus’ doing. There is no such person as Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ and the story about him are a fable for feeble minded Christians. I am a tough minded realist and only science would do for me.
This interpretation seems to make sense to my secular, rational mind, a mind that eschews all religious mumbo jumbo. However, the next question that popped up is this: how does the human mind produce these stranger dreams, if dream was what my experience was?
I know as much about Brain biochemistry as any physiologist; I do not, however, see how the dance of elements, especially electrically charged elements, ions, and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA, etc could produce the dreams we have.
How do our brains produce the dreams we have at night? For that matter how does the brain produce thinking? I woke up this morning and decided to go write this paper and sat in front of my computer typing it. How did my brain do it? I do not know.
What seems logical is that biological (physical) factors and non-biological factors (metaphysics) are at work in human thinking.
However, in trying to appreciate the meta-scientific aspect of our being folks juxtapose all sorts of nonsense that they call religion and spirituality. We must, therefore, be very careful in talking about spirituality.
There is no escaping the fact that our lives seem to be more than matter, space and time. We must therefore study space, time and matter as well as spirituality.
I believe that a combination of scientific psychology and rational spirituality (spirituality made as rational as is possible, although much of it would still remain beyond reason) is necessary if we really want to help people cope with their lives issues. As earlier pointed out, many years of working in the mental health field, providing psychotherapy to the mentally ill and worried well neurotics taught me that pure secular psychotherapy does not heal folks.
At the time that I had the Jesus dream (vision) I had many other experiences that folks call spiritual experiences, including out of body experiences. I am not going to write about those here. I mentioned the Jesus dream as a way of saying that there is more to our lives than secular psychology would like us to believe.
Since secular psychology does not really heal folks of their psychological issues, I look into what I call spiritual psychology. I do not do so in an either or manner. I do not pursue spirituality at the exclusion of science. I combine both.
I believe that it is when we find a way to combine insights from scientific psychology (and physics) and spiritual psychology (metaphysics) that we would become more able to help people.
At the Institute of scientific and spiritual psychology, ISSP, we combine insights from both science and spirituality in teaching people how to cope with their daily lives. Ultimately, a new metaphysics does not have to follow any received religion’s path; it must be self evidently true; the individual should only accept it if it makes sense to him.
Real psychology posits that the entirety of the human body, not just the nervous system (the brain) determines the human personality. The child’s body responds to his physical (and social) environment. If he feels physically stressed and pained he is likely to reject his body and use his mind to construct an idealistic self and attempt to become that mentally constructed self.
The individual is not the self he mentally constructed; he is not his self concept, he is mostly his body. In the empirical universe, body determines personality.
By body I do not mean just what is going on in the human brain. It is not just the dance of neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA and acetylcholine) and electrically charged elements (ions) that cause the human personality, as current Western neuroscience (biological psychology) tells us. The entirety of the human body determines the human personality.
A disorder of an enzyme in every cell in my body produced a body that inordinately feels stressed and pained and that body led me to reject it and desire an ideal alternative to it.
Real psychology must study the entire human body and from such studies understand the physical forces that led the human child to form his personality. Where there are personality disorders they are invariably rooted in problematic physiological disorders (not just disorders of the central nervous system).
Where there are problematic somatic issues the child, as Alfred Adler observed, feels weak and inferior and compensates with a mentally constructed ideal, superior self. The superior self is fictional and not real yet the child aspires after realizing it. What psychoanalysis calls neurosis is the pursuit of idealized, superior self.
What contemporary psychiatry calls mental disorders are all rooted in pursuit of imaginary big self the person wants to become and cannot become. Psychoses results when the individual believes that he is the big self he wishes to become and is not. Schizophrenia, mania, delusion disorder and other mental disorders are beliefs in the desired big self when one is not it.
In neurosis, aka anxiety disorder and personality disorders the individual pursues ideal big self and knows that he is not it.
In its efforts to understand the individual, Western Psychology and Psychiatry focuses on the human brain. This paper says that disorders in cells in any part of the human body interacting with the physical environment the child finds himself in produce self rejection and desire to become an alternative, ideal, perfect self.
The pursuit of the ideal, perfect self is at the root of all mental disorders. The cure of all mental disorders, from neurosis to psychoses lies in giving up the pursuit of the ideal self.
Mental health lies in letting go of the big, ego self and having a humble self concept. To attain this goal it seems necessary to seek insights from both scientific and spiritual psychologies.
Ozodi Thomas Osuji, PhD
November 10, 2012
INSTITUTE OF SCIENTIFIC AND SPIRITUAL PSYCHOLOGY (ISSP)
- The Institute of scientific and spiritual psychology offers weekly lectures on scientific psychology and spiritual psychology.
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Dr Ozodi Thomas Osuji