Difference between Modern Psychology and Yoga Pscyhology
Contemporary psychology works towards forming a theoretical and functional framework of the human mind, whereas Yoga works through yogic psychological tools to evolve the mind’s capacities as well as it’s self-awareness. Secondly, psychology believes in the static consciousness or identity type, which may be categorized, whereas Yoga believes in a dynamic consciousness, and the potential of every human to grow out of identity types, to choose new personality traits and to ultimately, evolve out of all identity types and into higher forms of unitary consciousness. Though the above points may seem to highlight differences between contemporary psychology and Yogic psychology, the difference is only in degrees, and not in substance.
Psychology understands everything arises from self-interest or the needs of the consciousness that seeks a self, or ‘self-actualisation’. From this it follows that ‘self-interest’ could either be enlightened or deluded. But what is enlightened self-interest and how may it be realized? Contemporary psychology does not give an answer to this because of two inter-dependent causes.
Firstly, a psychologist or counselor could not tell you how to think because that would be infringing upon your free choice to think for yourself. Secondly, who is to decide as to what is a ‘correct’ personality, and what is ‘incorrect’? In a democracy, we have the right to choose our own personalities.
So psychologists then concern themselves mostly with individuals who are so psychologically imbalanced as to be dysfunctional in society. Therefore, the theories of modern psychology have been mostly derived from the study of highly imbalanced human minds. Such a system cannot serve healthy human minds that go through the minor aberrations of depression, anxiety, etc., that are all but emotional waypoints on the path of higher evolution. Contemporary psychology therefore specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of delusional frames of self-interest, but has no answer for the other side, the evolutionary or enlightened frames of self-actualisation.
Yoga Psychology and Self Willed Evolution
Yogic psychology in the form of the Zero-Point System defines, explains, and gives tools for just such an enlightened self-interest. Seen in this light, Yogic psychology seems to be a more functionalized form of contemporary psychology, with the only major difference between the two lying in the objective-where self-willed evolution is the objective of Yoga, and therapy that of contemporary psychology.
But scratch the surface, and what you find is an abyss that separates contemporary psychology from ancient Yogic psychology. The bridge too far that separates the two is that of the ‘Reality of the Persona’. Contemporary psychology believes in it and is founded upon it-the existence of a definable and thus predictable identity, which is then seen as the person him/herself.
The Fluid Nature of Personality
Our identity at the age of 5 was different from that at 15, which again radically revised itself at 30, and so on. Identity, like homoeostasis is a constantly dynamic system, attempting to attain balance from moment to moment. So then, how redundant is the effort, by contemporary psychology, to categorise an ever changing identity? This exercise in futility further takes away power from the counseled and hands power to the counselor. Contemporary psychology , with its ultra confessional nature, seems to share more in common with Catholic confessional systems than any self respecting system built on scientific principles.
Yoga psychology also presumes categories, but these are fluid and are subject to seismic shifts over time and circumstance. Secondly, the very objective of yoga psychology being the overcoming of categories, which are seen to be the real limitations on human capacities, Yoga declares the ultimate destination of identity to be a twin port, that of NO-IDENTITY and ALL- IDENTITY, held together within the realm of an expanded consciousness.
No-Identity & All-Identity
What does this even mean? NO-IDENTITY and ALL-IDENTITY? Permit me to give you an example. Take an AI program or a ROBOT whose sentience can pass the Turing test-as in CHAPPIE in the movie by the same name. The scenario where people start relating to CHAPPIE in deep and distinct human ways is feasible and in a world of increasing virtual personalities, it is entirely conceivable that one’s new best friends are going to be sympathetic ROBOT-AI. This is the power of IDENTITY, where by projecting SENTIENCE, we enliven an object, giving it IDENTITY, a REALITY that the object simply does not possess, outside of our power of IDENTITY projection. The World that we find ourselves in and our idea of our own selves and bodies are then an IDENTITY projection of our own minds-we are creators of our own Worlds. This much is accepted by contemporary psychologists, but Yoga psychology takes it further.
All projections of identity are held to be true in the relative frame by Yoga-so go choose your own reality, as long as you don’t harm anybody else, it’s perfectly fine, your life is your own. While so doing, the ability to empathise completely with others and their views of life, which views maybe completely at odds with our own, shows the power of the ALL-IDENTITY factor. Here is where the PASSION that drives life originates. Life’s infinite variety is both its essence and the wonder of it all. So those whose IDENTITIES are not developed enough, to appreciate and empathise with the views of those who stand apart from them, have an innate dislike for the essence and the wonder of life itself, including their own, for life does not acknowledge the boundaries set up by Man.
Simultaneously, the ability to see beyond our projections of IDENTITY and those of others enables the mind to attain SINGULARITY CONSCIOUSNESS where there exists no duality- all IDENTITIES fall apart here in the SINGULARITY, consumed, as their essential energies are ripped from their outward mentative forms. Here, from the SINGULARITY arises great WISDOM, or intuitive VISION.
The body itself is the tool for all ACTIONS, and between the three triangulated factors- PASSION, VISION and ACTION all sentient beings, including the humans may be categorized, for functional purposes.
It is by growing these three triangulated and so-dependent factors, that as per Yogic psychology, we achieve higher levels of evolution and consequent freedom. And so, with increasing Passion, with ever vaster scope of Actions and increasingly profound Vision, we finally achieve the final objective of Yogic psychology, complete and unqualified freedom from, the need for and resistance to any and all identity.