A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty…Albert Einstein
There is a great debate, and in many cases a sharp divide, between practitioners of psychology and those of spirituality. On one end of the spectrum, most of mainstream psychology does not concern itself with issues of consciousness and spirit, and rejects what is not scientifically quantifiable. On the other end, many contemporary spiritual traditions view the psyche as an unreal construct and believe that psychological work is an indulgent reinforcement of the story of the false self. Many mainstream psychotherapists miss out on the benefits of spiritual wisdom, and many teachers of Western spirituality make grave errors by rejecting the psychological domain and thus not cultivating skills and practices to work with it effectively. Spiritual understanding comes from a direct perception of a greater intelligence, force or power. Psychological work helps unravel the complex strands that constitute our personal psyche- patterns and wounds that, if not tended to, can impede our growth and block our perception of spiritual realities. When spirituality and psychology come together, there emerges a more holistic vision of life……Mariana Caplan
we are up against the war on ourselves…..an isolating superstition of ‘not enough’….bystanders of our own lives when we get stuck….the only anecdote to this primal confusion is love….not a superficial love, but the love of becoming conscious…a re-balancing of sacred humanness….
Empathy is not some mushy activity that women practice when they have coffee together. It is encoded in our brains, part of our natural equipment for adapting to our environment. Speaking from the heart and listening with compassion, we heal ourselves and each other. In its variant forms, this is the work of alchemical transformation- from individual psychotherapy to the highest levels of international diplomatic negotiations and conflict transformation. Healing comes when we know how to do this well. When we really get it that everyone alive experiences sorrow, fear, and despair, when we can tolerate these dark emotions in ourselves and others, they transmute to gratitude for life. They open us to a meaning system in which empathy and compassion are elevated to their true importance for ourselves and the world. We are no longer isolated in ‘my’ problem or ‘my nation’s problem’ but can move out into an enlarged, interconnected sense of Self or of universal consciousness. This kind of love is the Divine at work in the lives of humanity. Compassion is the gold in the accumulated sludge of humankind’s sorrows…….Miriam Greenspan