Report #1: Studying Theistic Psychology
By: Keala Hironaka
Psy 459 with Dr. Leon James
Instructions for this report are at: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy24/459-g24-report1.htm
1. The Concept of the Divine Psychologist in Theistic Psychology
a) Discuss the concept of the Divine Psychologist. Explain it. Is this concept an essential feature of theistic psychology or should it be omitted for the sake of greater acceptance? What’s the relationship between Divine Psychologist and human psychologist? What does the term Divine Psychologist imply about God and God’s role or relationship with the human race? Theistic psychology describes all its concepts as rational. In what ways can one understand the Divine Psychologist as a rational concept in science?
b) Is it possible for you to relate to this concept? What would need to change in your ideas before you could accept such an idea as completely real in your life? What is the psychology of cooperation with the Divine Psychologist? Could this be something important to you right now?
1. The concept of the Divine Psychologist in Theistic Psychology
a) Who is this Divine Psychologist
The Divine Psychologist is someone or something which countless religions all over the world better recognize as God or a Supreme Being who is all knowing and someone who controls all the things which occur in our life from our birth to our death. Nevertheless, in studying Theistic Psychology not only is the Divine Psychologist someone who controls everything that we do from the food we eat to when sleep—but someone who is omniscient and human.
b) My relationship to the concept of Theistic Psychology
In other words he is someone that is always around and someone that we are able to communicate with on a daily basis
whether it be a problem or an instance of joy—we are inevitably always able to communicate our emotions, thoughts,
and feelings with him. Some of the qualities according to TP 188.8.131.52.1 (V) that outline the character of the Divine Psychologist is that he is Love itself and Wisdom itself. He is also Good itself because Good refers to Love and Truth to Wisdom, both Love itself and Wisdom itself constitutes life itself or life in itself.
Both Love and Wisdom are one in God, the essence of love is loving others than oneself, wishing to be one with them and devoting oneself to their happiness. The entire universe was created by the Divine Psychologist for the purpose of Divine Love. One may wonder what is Divine Love? According to TP 184.108.40.206.1 Divine love is the motive of the Divine Psychologist in interacting with each individual mind. The Divine Psychologist lets us know the spiritual truths to each mind so that people can use that truth in their mind to fight their false ideas, fantasies, and evils.
At various times in our life we can choose to follow the Divine instructions in the Doctrine of Truth and undergo enlightenment in early adulthood, and then we undergo a lifelong process of regeneration where we can mold our own new character by working as a team with the Divine Psychologist in daily self-witnessing and self-modification disciplines.
The Divine Psychologist arranges our environment and experiences all day long every single day, and he does so that we are able to develop our own character through steps of regeneration and to help us create our own spiritual heaven in our spiritual mind. This is the heaven which constitutes our conjugial eternity after the death of our physical body. The only way that we are able to understand the how of building our spiritual heavens in our spiritual mind is through studying the Writings of Swedenborg.
The concept of the Divine Psychologist is an essential feature of theistic psychology because it is rational, and in order for one to believe that the Divine Psychologist does in fact exist is through accepting the positive bias which is rational. The relationship of the Divine Psychologist and human psychologist is that in order to accept the existence of the Divine Psychologist one must have the positive bias which is different from the negative bias which is most widely accepted by the human psychologist.
The term Divine Psychologist implies that God is omniscient and human he is one whom we can communicate with on a daily basis. God’s relationship with the human race is that he wants all of us to live in our spiritual heavens of our mind because he is love itself and wisdom itself, which constitutes life itself. Back to the concept of Divine Love which is the motive of the Divine Psychologist interacting with each individual mind.
God gives us spiritual truths to that we can use that truth in our mind to fight our false ideas, fantasies, and evils which we inevitably encounter everyday. One can understand Theistic Psychology as a rational concept in science so long as one accepts the positive bias which is that God exists, and there are two worlds one natural in physical time and space and the other spiritual not in time or space also known as the after life.
Scientifically TP can be accepted as a premise, assumption, or agreement among each other to assume a universe of dualism one in time or space and another universe not in time or space. Also it is important to note that TP is a science which attempts to show the relationship between the natural and rational science. Natural is based on sensory observations and measurements of our physical environment and putting them into theories and descriptive explanations of various events. Rational Science is knowledge taken from the Divine revelations. Theistic science relates through the method of correspondences how rational and natural science is relative concepts to one another.
c) Relating to the Concept of Theistic Psychology
It is possible for me to relate to this concept. What I would need to change is the way that I see the world and my whole outlook on life. In other words I would need to accept the rational concept that there is another world which exists not in space or time. In order to accept this concept it isn’t of much difficulty because I already have thought about concepts like this before, but have never had the opportunity to study such an interesting concept so thoroughly.
The psychology of cooperation with the Divine Psychologist is to exert mental effort of the following: examining our inner life, judging it by means of the doctrine of truth from sacred scripture, cease doing what is not allowed or condemned thereby
start doing what is allowed or commanded.
This process prepares our mind for temptations the main method that the Divine Psychologist employs to regenerate our will or our “affective organ” from hellish to heavenly. New affective organ is provided which is then grown and expanded gradually as the person is regenerating. There are natural, spiritual, and celestial temptations, and each category has developmental series that must be enacted or experienced.
At the highest (Level 3) level of understanding we know that God’s focus in his relationship to every individual is to bestow as much human potential as possible and to make the person be filled with happiness and joy forever without ever stopping. His essence of love is to make others happy from oneself, according to these revelations, God’s single minded focus is always on making the individual as happy and rational and wise as He can.
This concept of cooperating with the Divine Psychologist is definitely something that important to me right now in my life although I haven’t really reached the age of maturity the various concepts which we read about in TP and try to understand is enabling me to apply them to my daily life experiences.
2. Being Consciously in the Presence of the Divine Psychologist
a) The Distinction in theistic psychology between “sensuous spirituality” vs. “rational spirituality.” Explain how you understand the difference.
b) To maintain rational co-Presence with the Divine Psychologist you need to discover a practical method for keeping on reminding yourself that the Divine Psychologist is Present with you, in your rational mind, through your rational ideas of Him. What method did you use to try to remember the Divine Psychologist? What happened at times that you remembered?
c) Look up what you can find in theistic psychology regarding why God created the universe and what laws or methods God uses to manage its details. Explain how you understand this. Why God allows evil and whether God has full control or only partial control over what actually happens.
2. Being consciously in the presence of the Divine Psychologist
Sensuous spirituality and rational spirituality are quite different. When we know we can communicate with God or to others in the afterlife we are exercising our sensuous spiritual efforts, but when we study the knowledge of God through the revelation of the Sacred Scripture we are practicing our rational spirituality. If I were to see God and talk to God in physical space and time and he were to tell me what to type and what not to type on these pages that he would be in my sensuous spirituality because in the natural mind I “sense” his presence.
However if whenever I typed I outlined my thoughts attempting to find the right words to put down to describe exactly what it is I am trying to say he is in my rational mind giving me the free will to say what I want without actively being in my natural mind which is in physical space and time (in other words he’s in my thoughts but not physically in my presence).
b) How to remember our co-presence with the Divine Psychologist
In order to maintain the rational co-Presence with the Divine Psychologist the method that I use to keep reminding myself that he is present with me in my rational mind is to think before I act in every instant. I didn’t use a card or a reminder note I just simply tried to keep him in my thoughts throughout the day.
Granted this isn’t easy to do, there are many times when my thoughts have wondered off and I have said or done things that made me forget that he was present with me at the time when I was doing something or saying something but I think that this quality is in our nature and that always reminding ourselves to think of him in everything and anything we do will take much practice. At times that I remembered to think of him I felt a clarity of thought, as though my thought process was simplified and it was a good feeling.
In order to understand the reason that God created the universe according to TP 1.0 one must accept the concept that God is the beginning of everything and the end purpose for which everything exists in the last line which is our eternity (whether it be in heaven or hell). Studying TP is our scientific endeavor to seeing clearly to the basic outline of our universe, and through our studies of TP we accept the fact that God’s purpose in creating the universe and the laws of correspondence was to enable humans being to live forever in heavenly joy and happiness.
His purpose of creating the universe reflects his inmost character which is Divine Love, and the essence of love is to make others happy outside of one. Being in the heavens of our spiritual mind is the pinnacle of our purpose that God had in creating the universe and maintaining it forever in this way.
One might ask then why does God allow evil to permeate this world if he wants everyone to be in their spiritual heavens of joy and happiness? The answer is that God gives each individual human being the freedom of choice and their concept of “as-of-self” which he creates and manages to create in the person the sense of a self-determined being we know as “I, me, or myself.” Nevertheless through Divine Speech God manages all of the mental details that are held together just right so to mold a self-conscious human person that has the sense or feeling of being autonomous or inner existent.
One must also understand that there would be no sense of self without it being put together and held that way by the Divine Psychologist. Basically God gives each individual this freedom to choose to follow his or her heavenly traits or hellish traits, and although it is a struggle the rewards are endless when we are in our spiritual heavens of our spiritual minds.
As far as whether or not God has full control or partial control over what actually happens in our life one must understand that he gives onto each human being free will but every detail of the universe must still be controlled, operated, managed, and determined by God directly and continuously without any exception (TP 220.127.116.11.1 (II)).
3. How My Friends React to Theistic Psychology
a) Discuss how the study of theistic psychology has influenced your thinking thus far. Make a list of the important concepts you learned and explain how they helped you figure out your life.
b) What is your assessment of how others in class react to the study of theistic psychology?
c) Share some concepts with friends and describe their reaction
d) What are your reactions to their reactions?
e) How do you explain the apparent fact that some students seem to understand the topics pretty well in their reports, but do not necessarily accept them
a) Making an Influence on my decision making processes
Upon discussion of how the study of Theistic Psychology has influenced my thinking thus far is immense. Prior to my study of TP I would have to admit that I was a bit lost—traveling from religion to religion and unsure what belief system to abide by was my state of mind at the time. There have been many things that I have learned through the study of TP that has enabled me to get through some tough times and reflect upon my life thus far. Nevertheless I will share some important concepts that I have learned and how each concept has helped me figure out my life.
First I must admit that I have always had a firm belief in God and the afterlife, except not until studying the Writings of Swedenborg did things actually make sense (spiritual rationality) to me, and only now am able to internalize various concepts and mold my character into one of good and heavenly traits. I do believe that there is an Age of Maturity for every individual a point at which we come to realize that we determine what it is we want to believe or disbelief.
So with this concept in mind I know that I have reached my Age of Maturity and now I am not simply talking from the hand which I am being fed, but am willing to question where the food came from and how was it prepared. In other words I am at the age where I am able to realize that I have my own mind and I know that I have the free will to think what I want when I want and that God has given me this gift. For this gift I am ever so grateful—freedom of choice and will. Also another important concept that I have learned is that God is human and omniscient.
I think that not only for me but for the billions of other human beings that inhabit this physical planet earth just knowing that God is human and omniscient is of great benefit. This enables one to form a closer relationship to him, where concepts, feelings, thoughts, and emotions that one feels can be well understood and adhered to if we know that God is, and always will be there for us, and he desires everyone a life of joy and happiness, and most important that he is Divine Love and Divine Truth.
There have been many instances throughout my life where I have felt alone and knowing this concept that God is always there for me is just going to help me get through whatever obstacles lay ahead.
b) Assessing the thoughts of other of my classmate
My assessment of how others in class react to the study of theistic psychology is that most students feel have accepted the positive bias although in the beginning it was quite a challenge to accept the positive bias having each been taught a variety of things throughout our lives about God and good and evil.
Also it is important to continue to do the reading so that the various topics discussed in class are topics which are familiar to you and that way information being shared by various other group members isn’t just information being dished out, but concepts that you remember reading about and therefore are able to relate to and provide your input to their thoughts of output.
c) After having shared some concepts with friends and family a summary of their reactions were as followed:
“Hey some of those concepts are consistent with Mormon principles.” Or “That’s pretty interesting…but you can’t always believe everything that you read.” Or “I remember reading about that guy Swedenborg once but never really believe that his accounts could have actually occurred.” Or “You’re a catholic…What are you doing studying these other religions?”
c) My opinions vs. others
So my reactions differed with everyone that I talked to but the main idea which convinced me when I first started the class was to accept the positive bias. Convincing others to accepting the positive bias is key in helping others to just consider the possibility and most people after explaining the concept of the positive bias accepted were more willing to find out more information about Theistic Psychology.
d) Applying and understanding Theistic Psychology vs. Knowing Theistic Psychology
The way that I would explain the apparent fact that some students seem to understand the topics pretty well in their reports but do not necessarily accept them is that they’re so accustomed to the negative bias and only see our world in that way, and they’re unwilling to accept the positive bias.
Having read through some reports of the Readings portion of Volume 18 most everyone faced the difficulty in accepting the positive bias, and therefore needed to see, hear, or touch with their senses that which is factual in order to accept our dual universe and the concept of Theistic Psychology according to Swedenborg. Although others have struggled to accept the positive bias I have not because I had already accepted the existence of a God prior to taking a course which focuses on the Divine Psychologist and his influence in our daily lives.
This has and always will be of interest to me, and therefore my reaction to Swedenborg and his various accounts will never bore me; however, the amount of knowledge that he shares can be rather overwhelming at times, and requires one to focus on the reading and inevitably read certain passages a few times in order to understand a certain concept.
Perhaps this too is the reason that many students have a hard time understanding the topics—because they do require more then reading, but also understanding and in order to really grasp a concept one must read certain lines more then once and students tend to be lazy in accomplishing this task.
4. Teaching Theistic Psychology as a Science
a) Should theistic psychology be taught in high school? In public elementary schools? How can we distinguish between the theistic psychology as science and other issues such as creationism and intelligent design? Look up the recent court decision on teaching intelligent design in Pennsylvania.
b) What suggestions do you have for how to teach theistic psychology to college students in psychology? What advice do you have to future generations in theistic psychology?
a) Can Theistic Psychology be taught to all students?
Yes I do believe that theistic psychology should be taught at the high school level as a religion although many private schools would disagree on its instruction. Nevertheless the broader spectrum of understanding about our intentions, motives, and order can be better understood through knowledge of theistic psychology. If the science of theistic psychology were allowably taught in various high school settings I think that the concepts may be well understood and practiced by various students enabling for a better and more conscious society.
If students are always practicing self-witnessing, reflection, and they understand the concept of character reformation then they would think twice about acting upon various negative behaviors with the understanding that engaging in such behaviors may inevitably lead them to an eternity of in the spiritual hells of the spiritual realm.
In theistic psychology what is said concerning the separation of state and religion is that “theistic psychology is independent of religion” and therefore they can be taught as two separate subjects—teaching about God through the science of theistic psychology doesn’t disrupt the separation of both state and religion. In essence religion will continue to stay a subject of “private interest.”
This notion justifies teaching theistic psychology and helps students to see alternative views of creationism and intelligent design as concepts which will only nurture and foster their intellect. After reflecting upon the recent court decision on teaching intelligent design in Pennsylvania I do agree with the court’s decision that “Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view…for students who might be interest in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.
With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the origins of life to the individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on standards-based assessments.” Basically the decision to accept or reject the theory of Intelligent Design will always be in the hands of the individual which is his or her given free-will.
b) Some advice for future students
First I must say in studying theistic psychology there is so much that I have learned that it would be impossible to go over everything however I will in the next few lines attempt to regurgitate what concepts are important to me. The first that we are born as dual citizens—when we are born we are physical organ is born into the natural world and that our mental organ is born into the spiritual world.
Second as we go through our life it isn’t until the age when we are able to think for ourselves that we are able to undergo character reformation which is the process of building our spiritual heavens in our mind according to Emanuel Swedenborg.
Third is that we have free-will—the concept that God gives us the choice to do whatever we want whenever we want and to make decisions on our own based on our intention to do a particular act.
Fourth and the most important is that God is omnipotent and human—he is everywhere, knows everything, and will always love us no matter what we choose to do in our lives. We are also able to always communicate with him whenever we want in order to help our own understanding of our intentions and to ensure that whatever we do we are doing in order to build our spiritual heavens in our minds.
Theistic psychology is of benefit to me because it encourages me to strive to always be a good person and to do good things so that when my physical body passes I may go to the spiritual heaven in the spiritual world.
Also because my occupation requires me to deal with a lot of people throughout the day I am constantly engaging in the practice of self-witnessing and reflection in motivating me to say certain things or act in a certain way—which is certainly a good conscious to have being that the concepts of theistic psychology are consistent in teaching the individual to reflect upon the intention prior to taking action.
Some tips which I would give to future generations in doing a report in the future is saying how you truly feel about a concept or idea is the best way to really internalize the material and make it applicable to your daily routine. In order to search and find things on the web you can google search Swedenborg or theistic psychology or simply go to the web address http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy24/classhome-g24.htm for more information about Theistic Psychology—a course taught by Dr. Leon James if you are interested in learning more about the subject.
The only suggestion that I would have to teach theistic psychology to college students would be to have an open-mind and don’t accept everything that has been told to you—bottom line you choose to believe what you want to believe but don’t reject or accept the negative bias as your way of saying that something can’t or never will exist. My opinion to college students is that theistic psychology offers various meaningful concepts and ideas—that if internalized and practiced—can lead to a change in the way you think and act towards others.
G24 Class Home Page: http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy24/classhome-g24.htm