Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Ancient Psychology

Spirituality is about coming to terms with what you truly are, the Source. And an essential step in discovering that lies in discovering what you are not, the ego.

The East—the birthplace of spirituality—generally describes the ego as the mental processes that arise in your consciousness without your knowing how they got there.

Today, we would describe the study of such processes as psychology. Making the Gautama Buddha the world’s first psychologist.

As these early psychologists studied the mind, they came to the conclusion that it is not to be trusted and rejected it as being part of what we are.

Having abandoned the treacherous mind, a set of teachings was created to help others do the same. And in doing so, these Eastern psychologists hoped to undo all mindmade suffering.

Which leads to the burning question: how does one abandon, or as they would call it, transcend the mind?

To which these psychologists would reply: “By watching all thoughts, feelings and impressions as they pass your consciousness, without deriving your identity from them.”

While this is certainly a useful trick for being at peace with things, it does not give you any guidance on how to behave. All desires, whether they are of the body or mind, are of equal priority.

What’s more, without an identity there is nothing to project into the future. If you cannot project yourself into the future, you have no dreams to chase, no direction to head into.

In other words: if one is to live, there must be a ‘you’—that is to say, a decisionmaker—that prefers one direction over another.

If there is a ‘you’ there is also ‘another.’ And you would rather see your own needs met than those of the other.

The teachings of the East do a poor job of explaining why transcending thought would lead to a different, more loving behaviour. For if we use its own logic, you are not part of the material world—you are the underlying Source—and thus have no reason to care for it.

A spiritual person can harm another and justify it by saying: “You are not suffering, friend. You are merely watching pain.”  Even murder can be defended by claiming you are ridding a person of their material shell and returning them to the Source.

While spiritually does increase self reflection, it does not fundamentally change human behaviour for the better. Which is, of course, because a spiritual person does not consider himself to be human.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach