A Philosopher’s Psychology
As a psychotherapist, people come to see me for many reasons. While the problems are as diverse as the people I meet, there is always a common theme. People ultimately want to improve themselves.
Why do we have this perpetual need for self-improvement?
While the answer is complex and has as many answers as there are people motivated to aspire to new heights, a collective theme is present. If we turn our attention to the theory of Carl Jung, we will see how the ego we create is just one component of the larger Self-construct we strive to develop.
We spend so long working on our ego, but what exactly is this concept? Simply put, it is your sense of I. I am, fill in the blank. This concept can even be seen in biblical scripture as a Moses attempts to understand the name of God, and he replies
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
But the ego is only one aspect of the self/Self axis. As we can derive from Christianity, one strives to live as the savior does, thus fulfilling well-lived life. In essence, we strive to develop Self-understanding, or what in Buddhist terms equates to a state of nirvana, or what Carl Jung called a Self-Realized perspective.
When we realize Self, we link our individual to a more extensive form of consciousness. In Buddhism, Atman unites with Brahman, self with Self, individual consciousness with universal consciousness. It is here that the improvement of our personal universe can ultimately improve the outer universe, one psyche at a time.
As Mother Teresa once said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” I can’t help but think; maybe that starts with a bit of self-love from within.
Namaste, my friends. May blessings find you on your self-improvement journey to advance confidently in the directions of your dreams.