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The Radical Importance of Transpersonal Psychology

By Claudia Carballal, MS, LPC-A, RYT.

Transpersonal psychology, or spiritual psychology, integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspect of the human experience within the framework of modern psychology.

Transpersonal Psychology and Healing

In the field of Western psychology, mental health professionals seem to give little importance to the transcendent aspect of our being— our Soul. Psychology typically focuses on understanding and changing the mind, emotions, and behavior. Although these approaches are certainly beneficial in the process of professional therapy, it is crucial to understand the influence that our Soul has in the process of change and healing. Transpersonal psychology aims at understanding this deeper aspect of existence.

"In Eastern thought, the Soul is more intelligent than the mind. The Soul illumines the mind. The mind is simply an instrument in the hands of the Soul. This is a key concept that is the basis of any spiritual approach to healing and transformation."

The Mind is an Instrument of The Soul

In Eastern thought, the Soul is more intelligent than the mind. The Soul illumines the mind. The mind is simply an instrument in the hands of the Soul. This is a key concept that is the basis of any spiritual approach to healing and transformation. In other words, when the proper circumstances are in place, our Soul can inform our mind and we will act accordingly.

When the mind is open and receptive to our Soul—called Purusha, Jivatman, or Atman in different schools of Eastern teachings—the Soul's influence creates intuitive perception and correct discernment of what is true or wrong. In our emotions, our Soul's influence comes in the form of the right emotions and intuitive feeling that creates the right impulse. Consequently, our actions and behavior will be healthy and positive for us and for everyone around us. A life guided by our Soul is completely different than a life guided only by the mind and ego personality, which only get in the way of our joy and well-being.

In Western thought, we don't learn that the Soul is more intelligent than the mind, thus the Soul is not given the importance that it deserves in healing. The mind is necessary, as well as the five senses, to perceive external objects and interpret what we are experiencing, but this ability to perceive and interpret has a downside.

As the mind interprets everything we see, hear, smell, and touch, we see the world through our individual mind — through our own lenses, and not as it really is. Therefore, in Eastern thought we say that the world is an illusion. This is to say that the world is a multitude of subjective truths, as many as there are people with individual minds, as opposed to one absolute truth or reality. Our interpretation of things is filtered by our own individual mind and we could engage in healthy or unhealthy interpretations of people and events, depending on the state of our mind.

The Unmanaged Mind Makes You Insecure

The mind is constantly changing. Our thoughts change from one moment to the next. In Eastern teachings this is called vrittis or movements of the mind. The vast wisdom of the ancient sages of India, and other parts of South Asia, explains that the mind causes insecurity. It's the mind that makes us insecure and unhappy. Anticipation and expectation make us insecure. Memories, although at times positive, can also make us unhappy.

When we feel excessive worry, anxiety, moments of panic, nervousness, emotional imbalance, and sadness, it's likely that we are not managing our mind properly. We've let our mind run disorderly like a wild monkey. When our mind is balanced and our thoughts are in equilibrium by focusing in the power of our Soul, only then the outcome will be balanced. Pure water only flows from a pure source.

Soul First, Mind Second

Eastern teachings on the mind and emotions say that an effective approach to end mental and emotional suffering is to know our Soul and how to reach it within or awaken it. The Soul influences the mind like a light that can penetrate even opaque substances. It can even act in the unconsciousness. If our mind is dense, unstable, wounded by traumatic past experiences, or unmanaged and affected by deep seeded habits, the Soul's influence will be slow and change will take a long time.

The discovery of our Soul—the transcendental and incorruptible aspect of our being—will take care of our fluctuating mind. Without our Soul, which is directly connected to Universal Consciousness, our mind could not be.

As soon as we give up worry about the past or the future, and we manage our thoughts accordingly, the mind will set itself right by living in the now. Our ability to live in the now requires an implicit and sincere trust in our life process, in the Creator/Universe/God, whatever it is that you feel connected to in your existence.


Claudia Carballal works as a Clinical Counselor in the United States with a private practice specializing in multicultural counseling therapy and life coaching. Her therapy work combines Western psychology and Eastern teachings. For three decades, Claudia has worked with immigrant and multicultural populations in the legal and the mental health fields. She is the author of Yoga Psychology for Mental Health: A Guide to the Wisdom of Eastern Philosophy and Yoga Psychology for Mental Health and Healing. For more information, visit Claudia Carballal Counseling. Follow Claudia on Instagram


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