If you look up the word “psyche” in the dictionary, you will find “breath, principle of life, Soul.” But if you look up “psychology,” you will find “the science of mind and behavior.” Somehow, in the translation from essence to practice, the most important aspect of “psyche” has been lost. At the University of Santa Monica, we recognize our task as reintegrating the spiritual dimension back into the essence of an authentic psychological inquiry. It is this reintegration that evokes the emergence of a Spiritual Psychology.
Spiritual Psychology is the study and practice of the art and science of Conscious Awakening. To engage in this genre, we must begin by distinguishing the essence of human evolution—what does it mean to evolve? In short, it means learning how to identify, recognize, and navigate successfully within the Context of Spiritual Reality. Practically, it means learning how to surrender—or let go of—anything that disturbs one’s peace. It also means sacrificing our illusions of separation. Essentially, this “surrendering” and “sacrificing” is work that can and has been called “healing,” which includes healing on the physical, mental, and emotional levels in service to the deeper revelation of who we truly are as Loving, Peaceful, Compassionate, and Joyful beings. We refer to this level of awareness as the Authentic Self.
Put another way, Spiritual Psychology is a technology that empowers students to convert their everyday life experiences into rungs on the ladder of Spiritual Awakening. This educational process results in students experiencing greater connection with who they are, their life’s purpose, and enhanced levels of success and fulfillment. This empowers them to make a meaningful contribution in their world.
Change is taking place at an unprecedented pace on our planet. The nature of this change is historically different from anything we have previously experienced. Because of the enormous destructive power now available, the world is being challenged to learn how to get along or pay the consequences, which could be extremely high. Further, since the pace of change is clearly accelerating, we do not appear to have the luxury of time to waste.
From within the Context of Spiritual Psychology, the only way to truly promote peace is for there to be more peaceful individuals living in the world. In this Context, it is accurate to say that as people evolve spiritually, they naturally become more peaceful. It is also true that enhanced peace is an individual phenomenon. The more one learns to surrender whatever they experience within themselves that disturbs their peace, the more peaceful they become. Spiritual Psychology at USM is a response to this global need. The curriculum is uniquely designed for students to learn the skills of issue resolution. (An issue is anything that disturbs your peace.) We must learn how to not only embrace who we are as spiritual beings having a human experience but also use that recognition as a foundation for “healing.” As the evolutionary tide is rising and large numbers of people are beginning to awaken to the awareness that they are, in fact, Divine Beings having a human experience, the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology provide both a context and tools for living into that awareness in everyday life.
And, by the way, as we move forward, these very same skills will be exactly the same ones that will be highly valued as we transform into a more peaceful, highly globalized world.