The Science of the Soul

Taken literally the original words that compose our word psychology can be translated science of the soul.

If I asked 20 people randomly about the origin of psychology, most would respond with Freud. Some of the more well read may add Jung and James.

That’s what I thought when I read some of their writings while yet in high school.

I’m not positive just when it dawned on me, perhaps when I read John Climacus (St. John of the Ladder) and discovered not mystical realms of another world but depth psychology.

Then I put it all together in my mind. All of the readings of ancient spiritual seekers. They all probe the depths of the human soul–psychology we would call it today. Take the example of writings from 3,000 years ago composed and compiled by King Solomon. We call the collection Proverbs. The analysis, diagnostics, and treatment are just as valid today as then.

We were just reading in the letter of James compiled as part of the New Testament. He probes deeply.

“Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you?”

He recommends drawing near to God as “treatment” for his “diagnosis”.

When you read the entire Hebrew Scriptures and the entire Christian Scriptures, you will find this consistent thread of meaning about how to live.

It consists of:

  • Removing ourselves as the center of the universe
  • Recognizing that there exists a spiritual power that formed the universe and all within it
  • Reaching out and drawing near to that spiritual power that in English we call God
  • Realizing a life lived with and in the spirit

Doing so (James says be doers of the Word, not hearers only), we can live beyond those “conflicts and disputes.”

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