Comparative analysis

Anxiety, depression, obsessions andStates, guilt, panic, self-loathing ... Psychological suffering - we all have it. Some are more so than others. What is their cause? Traumatic experience in childhood? Disorders in the brain? Karmic echoes from past lives? And what constitutes the basis of mental health? Simple human happiness? Ability to adapt to the requirements of society? Or, as Freud said, the opportunity "to replace the extreme neurotic suffering with the banal misfortune of everyday life"? Or is this "enlightenment" a mind free from all the shackles of the ordinary, limited "I"? And if mental health is in principle achievable, then how to find it?

We are at the epicenter of great social andCultural changes, when everyone is looking for answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the human self, the causes of suffering and happiness, and heated discussions are about this. The psychiatric community is divided into two opposing camps: the first stand on the fact that psychological problems are of biological and organic origin, while the latter interpret suffering from psychological and spiritual positions. Meanwhile, it was not possible to establish what is really a genuine "cure" for psychological suffering.

All I carry with me

From the point of view of yoga, all human beings withBirths have a "divine nature," and each of us has a soul (Atman) in the basis of our being, which indestructibly resides in an unchanging, infinite, omnipresent reality (Brahman). In the classical Vedic formulation, this sounds like "Tat Tvam Asi" ("That is you"). In other words, we are already what we are looking for. We are already a deity, just our true essence is hidden from us. We are originally perfect and at any moment are able to awaken - to comprehend our true, impeccable, enlightened nature.

In the psychological views of yoga it is aboutAvidya, or ignorance of one's true nature. Avidya is considered the central problem of human existence and the source of all suffering. Simply put, we have forgotten who we are. They forgot that in essence we are a fantastic dance of cosmic energy and consciousness, the manifestation of the divine game (lila), during which the creation takes place. What is the cause of this alienation? It's not a sin, not our faults and no psychopathology. We just identify ourselves incorrectly.

Such views challenge theWestern culture and firmly entrenched in it the notion of what the "I" is, namely a set of beliefs in which guilt, shame, sin and worthlessness of a person play far from the last role.

"Psychotherapists deal with theDeep and largely unconscious conviction of inferiority, "says Boston psychologist Michael Keane, director of the Center for New Directions for Yoga, Health and Psychotherapy. - We never know peace, we are running somewhere, looking for something. We all the time need to prove to someone its importance and refute its uselessness. Such a conviction is the main cause of our suffering. And if you manage to cope with it, it has a very positive, healing effect on our psyche. "

Western spiritual fathers lived in a world of polarities,Exacerbating a constant threat. They participated in the great battle between the forces of good and evil, darkness and light, animal and spiritual principles, saved and forever damned. From the point of view of yoga, the energies of polarities - sacred and base, paradise and hell, dark and light, pain and pleasure - are very strongly interrelated and in fact can not be separated from each other. From these positions, we do not need to use the hammer of morality, law, power and coercion to split and throw aside any "vicious" facets of ourselves, because everything in us is impregnated with the divine.

"Yoga puts before us other tasks," saysRichard Miller, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist. - Namely: how can I "grow up", become "more" to embrace the immensity? How to create in itself a space for all your energies, body, mind, soul? For the dark side and light? How can I find a place for what I cut off and push myself away? How can one realize his true nature and become a jivan of mukti, that is, a creature who has known the fullness of being? "The radical difference between the first approach and the second is the notion that there are no dangers in the depths of our subconscious. "We think that we do not need to" cut off "anything from ourselves," Miller said. "And you do not need to get rid of anything." Everything in us is impregnated with the divine, just pour on it the light of your consciousness. "

There are witnesses

"Many of us lead to a deep psychotherapistA sense of hatred for one's ordinary "self," explains Gene Matlake, a Washington-based psychotherapist who has practiced yoga for many years. "We approach both therapy and spiritual practice as a grandiose project of restructuring one's own personality, dreaming of reaching the ideal, drawn by our imagination. But longing for the ideal, better "I" and its endless quest mean that with us - such as we are - something is wrong. And from the point of view of yoga this is far from the case. As soon as we feel ready to give up false ideas about what we should be, we gradually begin to create space for what we are now. And in it there is a place not only for our strengths and advantages, but also for all our limitations, anxieties, depressions, fears and all sorts of neuroses. This is true freedom. "

"The client in front of me is already inThe nature of his natural perfection, "explains Richard Miller," but he does not recognize her. I proceed from the premise that there is no need to develop love for oneself. It already exists. This love is at the core of our being. The process through which I spend patients is just an experience of self-recognition. This is by no means a path of self-improvement. "

In the yogic tradition, the transformation process is veryOften begins with an emphasis on "right view", with a call to modify its distorted, limited and heightened sense of alienation view of the world. However, both yogis and modern Western psychologists understand that changing these flawed representations does not necessarily entail the correction of the motives, impulses and feelings buried in the bowels of our psyche, known in yoga as kleshi ("defilements"), which can continue to impose neurotic behavior on us . Once the "right view" is achieved, yoga continues to transform the "I" through various practices. This transformation takes place through the methods of deep psychology, which has something in common with Western psychotherapy, but it penetrates into much deeper layers of the psyche.

The central point of the yogic depthPsychology is the systematic cultivation of "witness consciousness." From the point of view of yoga, it is the witness that makes the "unifying" experience possible. The witness (in Sanskrit drashta, or "seer") stands at the epicenter of the storms of life, the primitive impulses that Freud spoke of - the endless whirlwind of impulses, reactions, thoughts, feelings and fantasies in which we live. The fundamental principle of the witness is already present in Western psychology, but to a much lesser extent. Psychologists believe that a witness, sometimes called the "observing ego", is an ability that naturally develops when we establish for ourselves a certain sense of self-sufficiency ("everything is good") both in the physical and in the emotional perception of oneself. When the mental structures supporting self are for the most part in their place, we can mentally retreat and observe, impartially evaluate our own experience, even at the moment when we experience it.

Psychologists, like yogis, believe that if a "seer"Insufficiently developed, we will suffer, we will too much identify ourselves with our thoughts and feelings, "fuse" together the inner and outer world. Without a calmly witnessing witness, we feel fragmented, fragile and inept. Most of the psychological methods of treatment are aimed specifically at strengthening the observing ego. This is very similar to yogic views, but yoga went much further. "In yoga," says Gene Matlake, "there is no such thing that a witness can not see, feel, and survive. For him there are no forbidden zones, he is able to establish contact with the "shadow", to investigate what we are ashamed of and suppress. The witness does not divide our life experience into "good" and "bad", "right" and "wrong", "sublime" and "base", "spiritual" and "unspiritual". It unites all polarities. " A witness is a subtle aspect of the mind, referred to in Sanskrit as buddhi, or an "awakened mind" that Western psychologists have not yet discovered.

In contrast to the prevalent falseIdeas about the spiritual path in yoga are not meant to destroy or defeat the ego, in order to find the awakened mind. On the contrary, the witness is in a sense also an ego, but reached its spiritual maturity and maximally realized its potential. In its highest, most subtle form, the witness is transpersonal, resides outside of time and space, in the eternal "now" of unmanifested planes of being. The consciousness of the witness is the inherent quality of the "self-aware universe". It is essentially the intellect, the "all-seeing eye", which is everywhere everywhere and permeates with its "gaze" the entire quantum field of mind and matter.

Boston psychologists Dan Brown and Jack EnglerThey conducted an impressive study of yogis who reached a high level of practice. In the course of this study, it was found that, in contrast to the erroneous Western notions of enlightenment experience, even the most advanced yoga practices continue to experience inner conflict, fear, anxiety, depression, suffering from harmful attachments and psychological dependence on others. However, in some ways they are still different from the "ordinary" representatives of mankind. These differences are related not to the nature and scale of internal conflict, but to the factor of awareness and reaction to it. As the study of Brown and Engler says, the higher the level of practice, the more awareness and openness to one's experiences, while the level of excitability and reactivity decreases paradoxically, the emotional response becomes less impulsive, less "personal" and, consequently, less painful. An advanced practitioner simply observes his state, fears and desires until they pass, or takes action while preserving the fullness of awareness.

Working with your witness consciousness is something,Directly opposite to dissociation (estrangement from one's own "I" and his experiences), since it is born from inner experience. The yogic idea that consciousness permeates a single complex of mind and body is reinforced by scientific research proving that many organic functions previously associated exclusively with brain activity are actually distributed throughout the body.

"A witness outside our body is notA true witness, "says the feminist therapist Carolyn Marvin of the Cambridge Institute of the Family. - We must train the witness to stand firm, not disappearing anywhere, in the very center of the fire of sensations and emotions. The problem of most patients, especially patients with injuries, is that it is with this that they can not cope. They are not able to truly "be present" in their own body. " Western psychotherapists have just begun to consider the theory that psychological suffering is closely related to the inability to "be inside of oneself." "Any traumatic experience can cause a deep dissociative disorder that interferes with our normal functioning as a person," says Marvin. "And in the course of our work, we are constantly, somehow or other, returning to issues related to the body."

In the meantime, the yogic "science" has long beenUsing as a starting point for his research the problems of dissociation, emotional detachment and emotional reactivity. From the point of view of yoga, the root of our suffering is the tendency to "cling" to what we like (raga, or "attraction"), to reject what is not pleasant (dvesha, or "disgust"), and in the process of doing this, "With reality (avidya, or" ignorance "). Here yoga reveals the deepest paradox: in spite of the fact that corporeality forms the basis of human existence, by and large we constantly remain with our body in the conflict - even those of us who did not have a special traumatic experience. This is known to everyone who tried to sit still in meditation for at least 10-15 minutes: during this time the body has time to give us a full range of unforgettable and vivid sensations. Throughout its existence, we are at each moment in internal tension, trying to "dodge", tear away certain life "impressions". This applies to everyone, and it is this situation that underlies the "commonplace misfortune of everyday life" that Freud spoke of, as well as the intense suffering of deep dissociative disorders.

From the point of view of the yoga of mental suffering in the pureForm does not happen. The body and mind are inseparably linked. The mind is bodily in its subtlest manifestation, the body is a more "crude" manifestation of the mind. Attraction, aversion, ignorance, all kleshi are psychoneurobiochemical experiences. You have to deal with them at the body level. Western psychology is gradually coming to the same conclusions. It is known that patients who have experienced a mental or physical trauma in childhood react to stress factors at a biochemical level about six times more actively than those who were not injured in adulthood. Despite the fact that in the course of scientific research it has been established exactly which changes in brain activity are the result of emotional trauma and stress and lead to increased excitability, it has not yet learned how to deal with this. Here yoga can come to the rescue. In yoga, the feedback system of the body and mind is worked out to the smallest detail. Since many yogic practices are directly aimed at reducing nervous excitability and harmonizing the relationship between the mind and the body, there is every reason to believe that it is through them that one can heal those who suffer from excessive reactivity to external stimuli.

Caution: asanas!

While clinical researchersDiscover for themselves the full power of yogic techniques, some therapists begin to slowly apply this knowledge in practice. For example, Boston psychologist Marvin Willis and clinical social worker Claire Willis say that they often start group sessions of psychotherapy with asanas. "It gives an extraordinarily powerful charge," says Claire Willis. - Asanas always awaken certain states of our "I", coupled with a whole complex of thoughts, memories and feelings. The execution of poses allows us to "start" from deeper layers of the psyche. If one shares the view of yoga that the body will prompt all the answers, then in certain situations it makes sense to address directly to the physical, bodily experience. " "Asanas are a highly powerful tool for overcoming dissociative states," Marvin develops. - However, they should be used carefully and skillfully. We came to the conclusion that yoga practice often causes "flashbacks" in patients with traumatic experience, emotionally discarding them to painful experiences. Performing this or that asana, they inevitably face those aspects of their "I", which they always tried to "repel" from themselves, which they were unable to cope with. "

extended version

So, it turns out that yogis and psychiatrists in fact"They run in the same harness". In the end, why not? After all, perhaps, it was yogis who were pioneers in the field of biological approach to solving psychological problems. They perfectly mastered the art of influencing the state of mind through direct work with the body. They have learned to change the biochemistry of the body in a natural way, reaching mental and spiritual health. But ultimately the yogi is not particularly interested in what we call "pathology." The banal misfortune of everyday life is regarded in yoga as a side effect of deviating aside from the path of spiritual search, unwillingness to hear your inner voice of jivan mukti. The ultimate view of yoga is that acquiring yourself, achieving personal integrity is impossible without spiritual awakening.

The most important thing that yoga can bring to ourLife is a new understanding of the true possibilities of the self, something that psychologists would call an "extension of self-presentation." The expanded version of the "I" includes the conscious and unconscious, animal and spiritual, individual and social beginnings. The natural culmination of the unifying view is the realization that all human beings constitute a single whole in their true nature. Again, this is a direct challenge to the traditional Western notion of the ideal self: self-sufficient and independent. From the point of view of yoga, the health of the mind is impossible without self-awareness in the context of relationships with the outside world, without understanding the universal law of interdependence. At the higher stages of yoga practice, the roots of narcissism are finally "burned out," and genuine mental health manifests itself in a natural way in selfless service to people, nonviolence, non-suasion and in the pursuit of selfish goals-in what we so lack in the modern world.

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