Will this new field of Jiva Vedic Psychology require a patient to accept a new metaphysical underpinning to reality wherein consciousness, which generates the experience of the individual self, is separate from matter (and also the mind)? In traditional yoga systems and also bhakti, detachment from the mind took place automatically as one embraced this alternate view of reality and then performed sadhana, either meditation or work with intelligence and devotion. Is there some 3rd way to assist your patients or are you basically engaging people in some sort of sadhana practice based on their embracing of a new world view? I mean, can vedic psychology really be applied in a clinical sense, without a “conversion” (for lack of a better word) of the individual seeking treatment?
The Yoga and bhakti school accept that the root cause of suffering is ignorance, avidya, about the self. In this new field of Vedic Psychology, the treatment goes along with education about the mind and self. It is not possible without proper understanding. In the traditional Indian systems, the students would be living in a quiet, peaceful place away from the material world, focused solely on their spiritual growth. The teacher would be continually testing the students’ minds to see how they think, react, and behave in various situations. The students lived with and served the teacher for many years before the teacher would reveal any deep teachings, such as the knowledge of the Upanishads. This gave the teacher an opportunity to work with the students’ minds so the teacher could be assured that a student’s mind was clear and ready to receive the sacred teachings at the appropriate time. Now, in modern times, this opportunity to spend time with the Guru for so many years in so many situations, rarely exists. Also, the student is living mostly in the material world, which makes the mind more disturbed. So, the mind needs a more modern way to be managed. What you have called “conversion,” we call education about reality.
Jiva Vedic Psychology draws from the Vedas, but uses practical hands-on techniques focused on employing the intelligence (buddhi) for self-study and introspection. These techniques build self-awareness, so one can successfully manage the mind and emotions so they do not react in unconscious ways. Many people have studied and know about things, such as ego (ahankara), and samskaras (past memories), so they are academically knowledgeable. They could easily pass a test on the parts of the mind. However, they may not have practical experience of being aware of and managing their own minds and emotions. It is like the cardiac doctor who has a potbelly and smokes a pack of cigarettes per day, telling his patient that he needs to lose weight and quit smoking. It is one thing to know it. It is another thing to do it.
Applying theoretical knowledge is at the core of Jiva Vedic Psychology. Without this, it is difficult to transcend the mind for the modern-day student. Without learning how to manage the mind, people continue to react in hurtful ways towards each other. Some people ignore and repress their emotions and struggle with lust, fear, greed, anxiety, jealousy, anger, addiction, and depression. Many people also meditate daily for years, but still suffer from emotional imbalances. We can see these issues of the mind frequently manifesting in many spiritual organizations where people are meditating, chanting and engaging in devotional practices daily, yet they are still competing for power, instead of working together harmoniously with one heart. Jiva Vedic Psychology helps one to more clearly see how their mind is operating, so they can gain control of it, and ultimately become truly loving, understanding and accepting of everyone who crosses their path.
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