Psyche and Spirit

by Paul Werner

Introduction - The Search for Truth Psychology's Perspective Religion's Viewpoint A Look at Psyche and Spirit

Do we ever want the world to stop long enough so that we could get off? Where is mankind going? Are any of us convinced we are truly on the right path? Don't we want to do more than merely survive? Inevitably every human being yearns to find out where he came from, who he is, why he is here, and where he is going. Some turn to religion, researching spiritual "explanations" for the answers. Others shun the spiritual dimension and look for that which is logical, searching books on ethics and morals, and often labeling man's afflictions with psychological tags. It is as if we desire to place blame on someone or at least something else, for although we may at times allow guilt to overtake us, a great deal of the time we do all within our power to escape responsibility. The question is, where does this leave us? We seem at odds with ourselves, and feel somewhat uncomfortable about the state of both our psyche and spirit. But a further complication is that man finds it hard to pinpoint their very definitions. 1, 2

The Search for Truth

Throughout history, numerous and diverse religions such as animism, shamanism, and sun worship, as well as philosophical perspectives such as humanism and materialism have sprung up. Despite these trends, the Bible is still the best-selling book of all time. Yet Freud's works and that of a multitude of his colleagues, both past and contemporary, compete for space on library and bookstore shelves. For many people these two schools-the scientific and the spiritual-are at opposite poles, and "never the twain shall meet." So questions remain, and although answers have been offered, they are for many quite unsatisfactory, and thus people continue their quest for "real" truth.

Psychology is a science, concerned with the intricacies of human character and human behavior. While the practice of religion denotes a commitment and service to God, perhaps in a broad sense, it could be considered as focusing on man's spiritual character and behavior. Before psychology (which in Greek translates literally as "study of the soul") was raised to a science, study of the psyche was considered something equivalent to hocus-pocus. Yet today psychology neglects researching the spiritual realm as a way to detect causes of human behavior, or to find solutions for any resulting disorders. It seems most psychologists negate the existence and influence of the spiritual world as an avenue to discover the cause for illness and behavioral deviations, or as a means to explain evil, the fear of death, etc. Rejecting this possibility, the sciences have defined probable answers and confined them to such physical "tangibles" as biochemical imbalance, and the conditioning one receives as a child-relying primarily on pragmatic approaches. Since these theories quite possibly exclude the belief that man is made in the image of God and should function as a divine being, they are quite lopsided, and do not tell the whole story.

A psychologist assumes his patient has tensions, and as a means of treatment, may trigger certain questions in an attempt to detect the source of those pressures. Again, the majority of psychologists look for answers exclusively in the physical realm. But their discoveries are only partial, at best. Coupled with research into the physical arena, an investigation of the spiritual realm is needed specifically disclosing how the spirit functions, and the relationship of man's body and spirit to both the physical and spiritual worlds.

Those with a religious perspective point out that the salve to heal our sicknesses and tensions is true and unconditional love, something which does not come purely from the id, the ego, or the super ego, nor is it liberated through psychoanalysis. Rather, they claim it lies in an entirely different direction -- within the realm of God.

Although scientists research that which has not been evidenced thus far, relatively few have tried exploring the unseen world. There is little precedent for it; many people are uncertain and even afraid of what they might uncover. Mass media has done a convincing job in portraying through vivid images what might happen to those who venture into the spiritual realm. And the impressions conveyed in such works as The Amityville Horror or The Exorcist certainly do tend to stick in the mind!

Once a scientist formulates a hypothesis, he generally follows a certain line of thinking to achieve a particular result. Yet he can never be absolutely certain that his initial conjecture is correct. If a million scientists each took a divergent theory, one million answers might "result." If a researcher is uncertain about which direction to take because he is ignorant about the will of God for this world, the nation, the society, the family, and the individual, then whatever conclusions he might reach will be wholly incomplete and unsatisfactory.

In Christianity alone there are hundreds of denominations all "propagating" their belief of the right way to relate to God. In addition Buddhists, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Confucianists, and followers of other religions practice various ways of relating to God. In a sense, all are testing out certain assumptions about the nature of God, and in doing so rely upon the traditions and rituals, which may be based upon certain points of doctrine. But does anyone really know how to connect to God? How God Himself wishes us to relate to Him? The hypotheses are numerous, but can they be proved? People who lived during a certain age believed God was reflected and manifested within the elements of nature. Their descendants continued to adhere to the faith until someone with greater insight introduced a new message or a higher truth about God. Those deductions replaced the old ones, and thus we have spiraled to greater heights of understanding. But the world is still so chaotic that it stands to reason we must be missing something.

Those involved in medical research probe different avenues, but often proceed according to outmoded ideas. Oftentimes it is by sheer accident that cures are discovered. If professionals knew the exact direction to take, they would naturally come forth with results much more quickly. Many work almost blindly, assuming that because things in the past were a certain way, things should be similar in the present and future. The previous results suggest that they should search in a certain direction, but such an assumption could be totally wrong. Often years go by before an answer emerges, many times something that was right under their noses.

The same applies to spiritual research. Soviet scientists have been very successful in psychic research, yet for the most part, their findings have not been widely publicized by either their own or the Western media. Despite the atheistic nature of Marxist doctrine, Soviet scientists have made great strides in the field of parapsychology. Their discoveries have no doubt led them to an unraveling of some of the mysteries, which have plagued psychologists and religionists alike.

Psychology's Perspective

Self-help books on a wide variety of subjects proliferate. People are looking for ways to lose weight and keep it off, to stop smoking, to kick this or that habit, to feel better about themselves, to feel better about other people, to dress correctly, to become financially independent, to become emotionally independent-the list is endless. So many approaches are tossed out as lifelines to the masses who are hungry for the solution. There is no question that psychology is doing a booming business. But anyone who wants to learn how to talk to and influence others, or even himself, desires some ground rules and guidance. Everyone needs help to nurture a dose of healthy self-esteem, and so armed, then tackle the problems of everyday life. But when the solution implemented is not found to be a lasting one and the person faces defeat time after time, he generally goes out looking for yet another tool, yet another solution. It is no wonder that a multitude of new books continue to emerge, each claiming to hold the definitive answers.

As a science, psychology sets forth principles which a person can use to further himself and ultimately reach his goals. The "me" generation has emphasized that a person needs to gather whatever internal and external tools necessary to advance himself. But the philosophy of the "me" generation neglects another dimension, which is just as, if not more, important: to discover and then nurture the spiritual well-being of both self and others, something which comes not from books or psychoanalysis, but rather a solid foundation of faith and action. Yet this premise will work only on the assumption that God exists, and that He had a specific purpose for creating not only the physical world, but also the spiritual world. The "psychological" tools one amasses, then, should definitely include an awareness of and a working relationship with one's own s and the spiritual world.

Religion's Viewpoint

So many aspects of life -- from the value of human life to the problem of world hunger-need to be viewed from a different perspective. That outlook should be seen from God's, rather than man's, viewpoint. Although psychology may not concern itself with the earth-shaking problems of ecology or world peace, it could play a part in expediting solutions. However, if man lacks the awareness of what constitutes human responsibility, or that of true and total psychological or spiritual well-being, such aspirations may remain stunted.

The growth and development of material goods and technology is astounding, but due to human behavior, the benefits are tragically unequally distributed. In terms of researching human nature, or human "psychology;" the reason could be defined in the following way: the essence which makes life worth living-love, and by this is meant love for God, love for our fellow man-is virtually absent. Science has advanced tremendously, but the spiritual evolution of mankind has lagged far behind. The transformation of human hearts must take place. People have to become reasonable, not just cling to reason. When the greed stops-from the individual to the national level-mankind will discover that many of the resources to heal this world are lying dormant within the human heart, and that eventually man will tap those inner resources to conquer his problems, spanning from spiritual starvation to the elimination of air and water pollution. Eventually there must come an awareness that not all problems need fall totally on the shoulders of humanity, but instead that God is more than willing to lend a helping hand, and in fact is waiting for man to "seek and knock." We, as the human family, must ask His assistance and indeed believe it will come through the mutual cooperation of the physical and spiritual realms, and then willingly take up the responsibility to restore man's past mistakes.

A Look at Psyche and Spirit

This work is based upon several premises: God exists and created this world according to a master plan. Although its course has deviated from His original ideal, He has worked tirelessly to restore the world to the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Satan also exists, and was intricately involved in the Fall of man. Through his wrongful association with Adam and Eve, he began his control over mankind. Man was created as God's child, but became separated from God through the Fall. Thus, man is caught in the crossfire of the war waged between God and Satan, both of whom attempt to claim every human being. God longs to relate to man, but is bound by spiritual law. Unless man fulfills his own portion of responsibility and makes steps to return to God, He is powerless to claim man.

Satan has kept the crimes he committed against God and man hidden, therefore, man is ignorant about who actually governs his life. Since man is skeptical of Satan's existence and unable to realize that he indeed has an intimate association with Satan, he finds it difficult to ascertain that the origin of his psychological problems actually stems from the original sin, and thus needs to be absolved of it.

Man feels that he lives on his own, and therefore is mostly unaware that the spirit world can be mobilized to help him reach his goals. Even those who do believe in the spirit world do not know how. Most people do not comprehend that their ancestors and other spirit persons influence their lives, persuading them in either a good or bad way. But this factor has an enormous impact upon man's mental and spiritual health. In fact, if psychologists and professionals could accept this premise, they would naturally venture more deeply into searching the spiritual realm for answers to the psychological problems plaguing mankind. If they would veer away from attempting to place total "blame" on the physical realm as a way to explain man's problems, they would more readily see how mankind could confront the spiritual reality and fight against it.

A big part of the problem is that man does not see himself as dominated by the spirit world, and therefore, continues to submit to it. Were he to discover the proper know-how, he could then expose the work of Satan and evil spirits and "drive" them away. He must gain knowledge and a healthy mental attitude. Presently, man is ignorant about how spirit beings are able to grow (or "resurrect"), and that their growth has a direct effect upon his life. Too often he feels that his emotions, habits, and characteristics are totally his own.

He fails to realize that the presence of spirits affects how he identifies himself, what he feels is his potential, his growth and development as well as his responsibility, his relationships, and his behavior.

To create a stable psyche and spirit, then, man must recognize how spiritual beings depend upon him for growth, and thus how he reacts in daily life situations -- from the monumental to the inconsequential -- stimulates progression or regression in restoring his rightful position and his relationship toward them. Man does not recognize that he must work on restoring the proper relationships of parent and child, husband and wife, and brother and brother-all of which were lost through the actions of our first ancestors. If man feels abandoned by God, he will not perceive the presence of the Living Christ or realize that man must emulate him. He remains ignorant about discerning spiritual influence -- inviting that which will help him, and fighting against that which stunts his growth.

This work will attempt to portray the unseen world as reality, and thread together the importance of understanding the spirit world as a vital cause to heal the suffering of both God and mankind, something which need not continue endlessly. Through attacking ignorance of God's intention for mankind -- in both the spiritual and physical sense, especially coming to understand the workings of the spiritual world -- solutions to the psychological problems facing man today can be discovered and carried out.

1 "Psyche" refers to more than simply the brain, the thought, and intellect. It also encompasses the "soul," the personality, and thus is something through which emotions, intellect, and will can function. It is the aspect which makes a person unique. The term "spirit " within the context of this work uses the terminology of the Principle*. The Principle explains that as man possesses a physical mind and a physical body, so too, man has a spirit mind and a spirit body. Both function in relationship to one another, but whereas the physical mind and body are stimulated by the physical environment and that which affects man's physical senses, man's spiritual mind and body are stimulated by the spiritual environment, which effects man's spiritual senses. This work maintains that psyche and spirit are not wholly independent from one another. Rather, they always work in conjunction, and each is certainly influenced by the other.

2 *The term "the Principle" is used throughout this work. It refers to the text of Divine Principle, published by HSA-UWC, 1973, and/or Outline off the Principle, published by HSA-UWC, 1980.

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