For more than 40 years, we have provided students with opportunities for learning and applying life-changing Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica. You may be asking, “What is Spiritual Psychology? What are these Principles and Practices? Can they help alleviate the mental anguish and emotional suffering I experience at times? Can they assist me in transforming my consciousness and my life—knowing my life purpose and living into it?”
We say, “Yes. That is exactly what they’re designed for!”
If you delve into the meaning of the word psyche, you’ll find phrases such as “breath, principle of life, soul.” But if you explore the meaning of the word psychology, you’ll see “the science of mind and behavior.” Somehow, in the translation from essence to clinical practice, the most important aspect of psyche has been lost. We recognize our calling as restoring the spiritual dimension to the Heart of an authentic psychological inquiry. It is this reintegration that is the Heart of a truly Spiritual Psychology, which we define as the study and practice of Conscious Awakening. As my [Ron’s] first spiritual teacher was fond of saying, “The reason psychology was inspired onto the planet was because humanity forgot why it was here.”
And what does Awakening mean? It begins with the awareness that we simultaneously reside in two worlds. We are most aware of the one known as physical-world reality. It’s the world of our everyday existence, including relationships, work, finances, health, weather, politics, etc., with which we are familiar and which we think of as reality. It is the world we know through our five senses
And, as we are becoming more and more aware, beyond five-sense, observable, material reality, there is another reality. It is non-material, multi-dimensional, and spiritual in nature. For our purposes, we define Awakening as becoming more and more aware of this “other” reality, where we experience our Essential Spiritual Nature as Loving, Peaceful, Joyful, Free, Enthusiastic, Beautiful, Creative, Wise, and more! The Persian poet and mystic, Jalaluddin Rumi, was certainly speaking from an Awakened state when he wrote:
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doors where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.
Awakening into the Awareness of who, or more accurately what, you truly are and living your life from within that Awakened state is the essence of Spiritual Psychology. Today, as the evolutionary tide on the planet is rising, and larger numbers of people are Awakening to the Awareness that they are, in fact, Divine Beings having and using a human experience, the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology provide context and tools for living into that Awareness. It is, in fact, our destiny to Awaken; for as we do so, we are actually Remembering that which is and always has been true.
This can be considered your personal introduction to what we speak of as the “Michelangelo effect,” which was so brilliantly expressed by the master sculptor himself when he said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” In just such a way, Awakening is not a journey of “becoming”; it is a process of “Remembering.”
Now here’s what to us is the most interesting and exciting part. This process of Awakening is not primarily a meditative process, though we encourage a spiritual practice we refer to as Spiritual Exercises. Awakening can be facilitated by engaging in an active process of releasing or dissolving the self-created barriers within your consciousness that are all that prevent you from knowing the Majesty of your Soul—from experientially knowing that you are the Presence of Love. As written in A Course in Miracles, “Your task is not to seek for love but to seek and find all the barriers you’ve built against it,” and to that we add, “… and to dissolve them.”