Psychology and Spirituality

On a Quest to Understand Consciousness

Psychology and spirituality, prima facie, appear as two diverging fields. The concepts formed in psychology are based on empirical observations and reasoning and the concept of Ultimate Reality does not fit into its framework. On the contrary, in spirituality the concepts do not have underpinning of reasoning and empirical observations, the observations are internal, subjective experiences or mystical experiences. The concept of Ultimate Reality is central to spirituality. Despite so many basic differences in psychology and spirituality what binds them together and what is that strong bond which has been carrying two disciplines together and has become even stronger in modern times after the comeback of spirituality in the West. This bond is of ‘mind and consciousness’. Both exist in reality and both occupy supreme position in psychology and spirituality. Within the domain of mind, there is also a concept of ‘the self’, which is also of central importance in psychology and spirituality and that determines the behaviour of a person. The concept of ‘the self’ is much older than the history of psychology. Until middle of nineteenth century, the discipline of psychology was non-existent and its concepts such as mind, consciousness, the self, human behaviour and ethics were discussed in a branch of philosophy. But as  new concepts and new experimental methods began to develop in Natural Sciences, the empiricism of science outweighed the rationalism of philosophy and with efforts of 3 W’s; Wilhelm Wundt, William James and Watson, Psychology came into existence, just 150 years ago! Psychology treats ‘consciousness’ as a literary term and the ‘self-consciousness’ is a personality trait in which a person is excessively conscious of her / his looks, appearance or manners, which when escalated can become a psychological problem. In positive context, a person can be self-conscious of his weaknesses and tries to overcome it by improving himself and in turn achieves boosted self-confidence. Further, details of ‘self-consciousness’ can be found in any text books of psychology.

Hello

I am Ved Prakash Gupta, a retired scientist and now I am developing the science of meditation.

My Beginnings

I started my career in 1977 as a scientist in the reputed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai, India. I studied Particle Physics and Quantum Electrodynamics in my post-graduation. During the studies I was very much fascinated by the wave-particle duality and I used to contemplate for hours on it. I realised that the Physics only explains the behavior of matter, it does not explain the nature of matter and how it evolved. I wished to pursue research in this direction but in a Government owned organisation you cannot choose the field of your interest as funds are provided for the sanctioned projects only.

Consequently I became associated with a project named Indus-I which is Particle Accelerator developed to work as Synchrotron Radiation Source. I was heading a team responsible for developing very high power pulsed supplies for powering the electromagnets for injecting and extracting the electron beam at various input and output ports. I had to veer off from Physics to Electronics, but since Electronics is my second love after Physics, it was not difficult for me to carry out this work.

The work was challenging and I was enjoying it thoroughly and I was successfully heading towards completion of project. Unfortunately, I became victim of lobbying, internal tussle and ego of higher authorities. I had to work under extreme stressful conditions which continued for more than a year and because this I was in the grip of extreme depression. I had to undergo psychiatric treatment and simultaneously I was learning relaxation techniques from a mentor, the clinical psychologist because my breathing had become fatally irregular.

I started to practice relaxation techniques very regularly for 2 years but still I was not able to relax because I could not focus my attention as guided by my mentor. The discursive thoughts continued distracting my mind and my breathing problem escalated further. I discussed the problem with my mentor many times but it was of no use. I was observing  the whole situation as a scientist and I was reading books and literature in search of a solution to this problem.

The Journey

One day, I came across a book on positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale in which the author had explained that the mind wandering occurs because mind searches the solutions  to problems you face in your environment and if an appropriate solution is provided to mind by auto-suggestion, it stops wandering. When I incorporated this idea of auto-suggestion with relaxation techniques, it really worked. Within a month, I was feeling remarkable improvement in me. I stopped psychiatric medicines and my depression had cured to a large extent and I was feeling energetic as before.

I had realised by now the effectiveness and novelty of this ‘Modified Relaxation Techniques’( MRT ) and its potential in the treatment of psychological disorders. I decide to veer off again from technology to Psychology. As I devoted more time to the MRT my thoughts stopped for some time and I was having weird but delightful experiences and after each session there was a joyful feeling of sedation. This feeling used to last for few hours and then tapered off. But I wished to have more of it. In order to maintain this feeling I used to go for many sessions a day. It was a sort addiction. This feeling was really intriguing. One day I happened to read a book on meditation by Christina Feldman and after reading the book I found that the techniques of meditation and its after- effects resembled with MRT. I realised that what I was practicing was a sort of meditation and the weird experiences were the mystic experiences normally associated with meditation.

Knocking at the Spiritual Door!

Unknowingly I was in the spiritual world! The meditation changed my life entirely. I had learnt to fight the stress so I was remaining more relaxed, my health started improving in magical way and I was getting rid of very old health issues like migraine, acute asthma and very frequent throat infection and fever. I could now work much more than before and without any fatigue. The most significant transformation which was taking place within me is described as follows: During the college days I had become an atheist under the influence of excessive scientism. During meditation I  was  experiencing strongly and beyond doubt the existence of an entity which was controlling my mind and body which I could not explain from my knowledge of Physics. I had found an explanatory gap is Physics. My belief in spirituality had opened a path which could lead me to explore this explanatory gap. I had found the purpose of my life!

This idea inspired me to study all those subjects  which could help me in this exploration. For last 22 years I have been studying thoroughly  Psychology, Neuroscience, Spirituality, Advait Vedanta, Philosophy and views of great thinkers on God like Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Spinoza, Eugene Wigner etc. I am developing a new scientific form of  meditation based on reasoning, neuroscience, and Advait Vedanta and technology. I am also developing the technology required for this meditation. Along with this I am  working on a Brain – Mind model based on Psychology, Neuroscience and Advait Vedanta with an intention to explain higher functions of mind such as: motivation and emotion related functions, cognitive functions, and transcendental functions. The purpose of starting this blog is not only to share my spiritual experiences and what I have learnt so far but also to:

  • Communicate with other researchers with a possibility of collaboration
  • Communicate with other aspirant spirituals who have actually experienced ‘Samadhi’ and ‘Kundalini Awakening’
  • Present the concepts of spirituality in a way which is simple, scientific and easy to understand.

Though the Spirituality is a vast and multi-disciplinary field but one can always acquire a LITTLE Spirituality to improve the quality of life to a very LARGE extent. [/su_expand]