February 16, 2006

Optimal Psychological Functioning

Dr. Larry Seidlitz
The ideals of optimal psychological functioning in Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s teachings are integral. They encompass the perfection and divination of mind, life, and body as well as the realization of the inner psychic and higher spiritual dimensions of existence. They address each of the many layers and strands of the being. All the outer and inner nature must be purified, elevated, woven round the psychic center of the being, spiritualized, and transformed.
The achievement of this task is impossible by human strength alone; it requires the Divine guidance and grace. It will not do to leave out the Divine from the formula of an integral psychology. Nevertheless, effort is an indispensable component of the realization, especially in the earlier stages until the inner contact with the Divine is made, grows strong, and eventually supercedes the individual effort.
An integral psychology should provide a roadmap for people to traverse in their efforts towards psychological and spiritual perfection. It is not enough simply to paint a detailed picture of the supermind or the cosmic consciousness--people need to understand how to get there. Since people are at different levels of development, it will be useful for an integral psychology to trace the entire trajectory of development from the rudimentary to the heights of consciousness where the inner guidance can take over.
And since development must occur on many fronts, in many different aspects of the nature, the ideals of optimal psychological functioning should be both multiform and specific. That is, they should address each of the important aspects of life and the inner and outer being and nature. Not only should the ideal functioning in each of these important dimensions be described, but the signposts of progress and the pitfalls of error should be located.
The integral perfection envisioned by Sri Aurobindo requires an even higher ascent as the knowledge and powers of these higher mind planes still cannot utterly penetrate and transform matter. Above the intuition is the overmind, a power of the cosmic consciousness...I want to close by considering again the people with whom we come into contact: our patients, clients, students, children.
  • How can these ideals relate to them?
  • How can these ideals uplift their lives?
  • How can they be communicated to them?
  • How can they become a force for their growth, their spiritual uplifting?

It seems to me the most important and effective way is to embody these ideals within one’s own life...The growing expression of these powers in ourselves will be the greatest aid in the unfolding of these powers in others. Sri Aurobindo Darshan: The University of Tomorrow

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