Psychology is a science that has been studied since the dawn of humanity. The study and development of Psyche (Greek for “soul”) is the essential root of every mystical and religious tradition in the world. In order to understand the universe and its Gods, we must first understand ourselves.
Illuminism is a practical methodology whose goal is the awakening of the Consciousness and the complete development of human potentiality. What is needed to acquire results in such an effort is summed up in the famous maxim, “Man, know thyself!”
When one knows the how and the why of the mind, when one knows the different functions of the mind, then one can control it. Thus, the mind becomes a useful and perfect instrument through which we can work for the benefit of humanity.
Since ancient times, on the different scenarios of the theaters of life, psychology has always played its role by being intelligently disguised with the costumes of philosophy.
Since the terrifying night of all times, on the banks of the Ganges in the sacred India of the Vedas, there have existed many forms of Yoga , which in their depth are pure, higher experimental psychology. The seven types of Yoga have always been described as methods, procedures, or philosophical systems.
In the Arab world, the sacred, partly metaphysical, and partly religious teachings of the Sufis have indeed a purely psychological character.
In old Europe (which is rotten to its very bone morrow because of so many wars, racial, religious, and political prejudices, etc.,) right up to the end of the nineteen century, psychology was disguised with the costumes of philosophy in order to pass unnoticed.
So, notwithstanding all the divisions and subdivisions of philosophy—such as logic, the theory of knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, etc.—nonetheless, psychology is undoubtedly in itself: evident self-reflection, mystical cognition of the Being, a fundamental cognition of an awakened Consciousness. The error of many philosophical schools consists in having considered psychology as something inferior to philosophy, as something related only to the lowest and even trivial aspects of the human nature.
A comparative study of religions allows us to formulate the following logical conclusion: the science of psychology has always been intimately associated with all religious principles. Yes, any comparative study of religions demonstrates that wonderful treasures of psychological science exist within the most orthodox sacred literature of various countries and from different epochs.
So, in-depth investigations in the field of Illuminism allows us to find that wonderful compilation of several Gnostic authors known as The Philokalia, which comes from the earliest times of Christianity. The Philokalia is still used in our time by the Eastern Church, especially for the instruction of monks.
Undoubtedly, and without any fear of deceit, we can emphatically affirm that The Philokalia is essentially pure experimental psychology.
Psychology was always connected to philosophy, to the authentic objective art, to science, and to religion in the ancient schools of mysteries from Greece, Egypt, Rome, India, Persia, Mexico, Peru, Assyria, Chaldea, etc. Yes, in those ancient times, psychology was cleverly hidden behind the graceful forms of sacred dancers or behind the enigma of cryptic hieroglyphs or beautiful sculptures, or in poetry or tragedy, and even within the delectable music of the temples.
Indeed, before science, philosophy, art, and religion split asunder in order to subsist as independent parts, psychology reigned sovereign in all the very ancient schools of mysteries.
The Esoteric Psychology of Religion and Myth
“Designed for, and understood by, the specially initiated alone; not communicated, or not intelligible, to the general body of followers; private; interior. Opposed to exoteric.” Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary.
from Greek psyche (pskhe) meaning “soul,” and Logos, the “principle governing the cosmos,” the Word, God. True psychology is “the knowledge of the relationship of the soul with God.” Esoteric Psychology is the highest and most potent level of that knowledge, which is “private” and “interior” and is entered into in levels, according to the internal, spiritual process of the seeker.
Psychology is not simply the territory of modern psychiatrists and psychologists; for example, Tibetan doctors, shamans (mystics who also served as doctors) understood that the body/mind, psyche (soul), and spirit were the principles to be studied regarding the composition of the human nature. Therefore, in dealing with disease, they would treat not only those symptoms and behaviors that can be seen easily, but also those which cannot be seen with the physical senses. Thus, psychology deals with two types of observable phenomena: external (being able to be perceived with the five senses: circumstances and events) and internal (that which is not observable with the five senses: states of Consciousness).
To deal with phenomena of an “unseen” or hidden nature is something that one constantly deals with in psychology and also in mysticism, religion, and occultism (occult means “hidden”). But these “unseen” phenomena have proven inaccessible to modern psychologists and scientists, in part because they refuse to study the wisdom of the ancient religions, discarding it all as “myth” and “superstition.” Instead, they persist in inventing new theories, which leaves them in the unfortunate position of contradicting themselves with each new theory or concept. Of course, our modern psychological “experts” are often the first to admit that they are nowhere near solving the massive psychological problems that burden humanity.
The “hidden” phenomena that truly drive the visible manifestations of human behavior have remained out of the reach of scientists and theorists because such phenomena are beyond the physical senses. Only those who know how to utilize the other senses of the human being can perceive the realities beyond the five primary senses. Therefore, the modern scientists and doctors are working “blind,” a fact that many of them readily admit. This is because they lack understanding regarding the most important aspect of psychology: Consciousness. Where does it come from? What is its function? How can one cultivate and develop it? These are some of the most important questions that pertain to the study of psychology, and in modern psychology they remain unanswered.
Consciousness is divine intelligence within the human. It is universal and comes from God, the Buddha nature, the Innermost, the Lord God of Truth Within. This is the factor upon which all of the unsolved equations of “modern” psychology rests. In studying the techniques given and synthesized by the Church of Illuminism, we can learn the way our Consciousness has been conditioned and even programmed into a type of psychological somnambulism.
With knowledge that is acquired when one works directly with the Consciousness, esoteric (hidden) knowledge is cultivated. It is hidden to those who refuse to utilize the proper tools. The Gnostic psychologist who works to cultivate esoteric knowledge (relating to the mysteries of life, death, and nature) directly and tangibly perceives the true nature of the human mind, heart and psyche (soul).
Esoteric psychology, as studied in the light of Universal Illuminism, can be found in all of the scriptures of the ancient religions. One cannot deny that the Old and New Testaments, for example, teach an in-depth doctrine of psychology. These teachings are taught in parables or stories, often with obscure symbols that are understood only to those who “Know” (Illuminists , or in other words those who have been initiated into the hidden knowledge). This is why we compliment the study of psychology with Alchemy and Kabbalah. Alchemy, the “chemistry of God,” is the scientific and chemical basis of inner transformation. Kabbalah, related to the ancient teaching of the Tree of Life, is the mathematical basis of inner transformation. When these forces are combined with Meditation, a complete system of deep and penetrating wisdom is revealed; the symbols and parables are revealed in their original and pervasive depths. Through the combination of these sciences, a synthesis is formed which reveals in turn the synthetic ground from which all true inner wisdom arises. Like Kabbalah and Alchemy, psychology is an occult (hidden) science, because once applied, it reveals that which was once hidden in the psyche, and one can experience the miracles of the saints.
From this perspective we can understand why all the world’s great religions and mystical traditions contain the same symbols, icons and messages. It is because they are all derived of the same source, and that source is the source of the human psyche, the source of the worlds, planets, galaxies etc. That primal source is universal, perfect, whole, and complete; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken away.
Science is the method of religion. Religion comes from the Latin religare, which means, “to unite.” It is the Inner Being that we seek to unite with. That which separates us from the Inner Being is the selfish desires that condition the Consciousness into instinctive, mechanical impulses. These desires are the multiplicity of “egos” or “psychological I’s” that we carry within. These are the unseen causes of the diseases that exist in humanity (diseases of the mind, heart and body). It is the goal of Gnostic Psychology to comprehend and eliminate the egos, so that we can liberate the Consciousness and finally return to the Divine Principle through an ancient, systematic and practical technique.
We study psychology to learn how to bring about practical change in our lives. It teaches how to bring about health through balance. If we observe the common level of being of humanity, we would see that humanity is not completely healthy. The group is only the sum total of the individuals. Therefore we as individuals need a revolution, in ourselves, here and now. To assist humanity, we must learn how to change ourselves.