Atma

From philosophy and specifically the subject of theosophy, we now move to psychology and the subject of individuation, given that individuation is a prerequisite and requirement – if not the main prerequisite and requirement – for the practice of theosophy. In a sense, individuation is theodicy – or the vindication of good over evil – on an individual level, given that the individual overcomes all the obstacles and roadblocks put in their way towards the self-actualization and full functionality which is the aim of individuation. In turn, this individual theodicy in the form of individuation has broader implications, given that the internal struggle going on within the individual is perhaps greater than the individual’s external struggle against outward corruption and evil. 

In a sense, individuation is the process which carries the individual psyche through different and various levels of consciousness or reality. And as Carl Jung wrote, consciousness has an unconscious background with which consciousness has to be integrated, and it is this integration which is the aim of individuation. This integration is synonymous with a process which “subordinates the many to the One” as Jung wrote, with the “One” representing “God” and with the “layers” or levels of consciousness and reality being represented by what is known as the “mandala.”

As a result, psychoanalysis is more than just an aspect or dimension of “therapy.” What is actually going on is a process of integration between a higher dimension and a lower dimension of the self which is muffled or stifled during conscious and ordinary life.

Integration means gratification or satisfaction of both dimensions of the human self rather than their neglect, and this gratification and satisfaction happens within the bounds of perennial methods and techniques which are now largely hidden and invisible as a result of a 200-year period of Anglo-American modernity within the broader scheme of a 300-thousand year long human history which began in the early 19th century. As Abraham Maslow wrote, gratification and satisfaction with the right methods and techniques “becomes as important a concept as deprivation in motivation theory, for it releases the organism from the domination of a relatively more physiological need, permitting thereby the emergence of other more social goals.”

In Hindu terminology, these various dimensions or levels of consciousness, personality, and reality is known as Atma. Hence, the groundwork for modern psychoanalysis and therapy and thus the groundwork for modern individuation and self-actualization and full functionality of the individual has already been laid out by antiquity. And as Frithjof Schuon wrote: “Perfection lies in the equilibrium between complementary opposites.” Hence, integration and “perfection” are essentially the striking of an equilibrium between the lower and higher halves of the individual self. And while the mind is the place where words and “visible forms” and thus knowledge and information are projected onto man, the ability to discern knowledge and information and the will to properly understand the knowledge and information being presented to the mind is through the intellect, and coincidentally, the intellect is situated in the heart, as Schuon argued. 

The ability to love is also a major part of the intellect, given that the three dimensions which form the intellect are love, intelligence, and will, as Schuon wrote. And as mentioned before, the intellect comprises of one out of three components of the human soul, along with desire and judgment. It follows that the inability to love is a real and true mark of a weak intellect. It follows that “the profound distinction between the intellect and mentality consists essentially in the fact that the first is of the universal order, whereas the second is of the purely individual order” as René Guénon wrote. In turn, there is a hierarchy in the universe relating to everything, whether it is consciousness, reality, knowledge, power, and even intellect. 

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