August 03, 2006

The psychic being is our true being

Psychotherapy and Indian thought Dr. Alok Pandey
Editor's note: The Indian psyche has some special inherent features that act as checks to mental imbalance. This article discusses how they can be used in psychotherapeutic practice
Introduction: the two approaches If psychotherapy is the science and art of changing psychological patterns creating mental distress and disorder, then it must base itself on the most complete possible knowledge and understanding of what a human being is and can become. Much psychotherapy is, however, based on what a human being was, either in his remote past as a race or in his more recent infancy and childhood. Tracing the roots of our present problem in this way, it tries to put a corrective by setting things right there. The principle sounds good in its own right but there arise two fundamental difficulties.
The first is about defining the past itself. In other words, how far back does our past go? The second is about the future. In other words, is the goal of psychotherapy to return the client to his past (when he was healthy) or maximum present possibility or is it to utilise his crisis for an inner evolutionary journey towards a more meaningful future? That is to say, can it be used as a learning experience for growth and progress? It is here that we come across divergent world-views of man and his goal, his destiny and scope, views which give a different understanding of his past and future. Broadly these can be divided into two main categories, though risking oversimplification for the sake of easier comprehension.
The grand synthesis and more It is here that Sri Aurobindo steps in with His Yoga, stretching the line of experience through knowledge and power to the heights where they both reconcile. It is not an eclectic combination of different ways and paths. There is more, something much more, not to be found elsewhere. What it is and how it can help us in our knowledge and practice of medicine and psychiatry is what we turn to now. For our present purposes, we shall confine ourselves to the problem of psychological wellbeing and envision it against a background of ancient Indian thought, by summarizing the main issues involved.
Firstly man himself. Sri Aurobindo reaffirms that man is no mere aggregate of cells or chemical reactions. This is only his outer material frame. His true identity is his soul. Sri Aurobindo does not use the word 'soul' in a vague general sense. There is a universal Self of all but there is also an individual soul that has been projected from the One Self into the drama of our earthly life. This individual soul, called the psychic being, is an important key to our psychological wellbeing. The psychic being is our true being, the secret divinity in us. Its very essence is peace, harmony and joy; it has a natural affinity to the true, good and beautiful. However, it is persistently veiled in man by the surface nature and its movements. But even in the crudest human natures there exists some ray of light and hope, a little spark of undying truth.

No comments:

Post a Comment