(Continued from Refinement of the Questions)
My previous arrangement of questions has ultimately proved to be unnecessary. All of the foregoing considerations have demonstrated that I desire above all, conditions wherein which I may maintain what E.F. Schumacher referred to as a "conscious culture of poverty", in which little emphasis is given to ephemeral or transitory goods, and greater emphasis is given to eternal goods and basic necessities. A conscious culture of poverty, as well as an orientation toward the sacred may be supported and maintained within any location and environment. The needs that I have determined to be fundamental may also be supported by virtually any existing career. Access to nature may be granted from virtually any situation provided that transportation is available and my ideal little house on the outskirts of the city may be reserved for retirement. It only remains for me to determine what kind of work I desire for myself and to carry out its attainment.
Schumacher and I agree on three fundamental principles. I derived my understanding of them through introspection while he obtained them through traditional doctrines. These principles state that human work should provide society with the goods and services that are useful to it, enable every one of us to use and thereby perfect our gifts like good stewards, and to do so in service to and cooperation with others so as to liberate ourselves from our in-born egocentricity.
Fundamentally useful goods and services involve those occupations which provide for our basic spiritual, psychological, physical, and social needs. I should therefore, select an occupation that is supportive of one of these domains rather than one which arises out of the complications of increasing size and technological advancement. It should enable me to use and perfect my gifts, the primary one of which is thought and reflection which I tend to direct toward the solution of problems arising in my own life or those of others. These are oftentimes psychological problems of perspective or knowledge, but I have also demonstrated to my own satisfaction through this exercise that I can apply myself equally well to the solution of problems pertaining to the practical domain. This work should also be done as a service to others rather than for selfish reasons alone.
My primary self-imposed limitation concerns my spiritual life. I desire to retain freedom of inquiry and a degree of privacy. Neither do I wish my study and practice of religion and the knowledge and understanding that I share with others to be involved in any kind of pecuniary compensation. This rules out all spiritual occupations and academic involvement in religious studies.
Based upon these considerations, it appears that the ideal activity for the application of my innate talents in accordance with my self-imposed limitations is the practice of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy means literally the cure or healing of the soul, and it traditionally occurs within the context of the spiritual path. In this context the spiritual teachings and method provided by the master proceed to integrate the spirit, soul, and body of the initiate in accordance with a divine pattern and norm established by tradition. Modern psychotherapy on the other hand concerns primarily the establishment of functional equilibrium within the emotional and physical states. It is based upon a world view that is necessarily limited, but because it is primarily practical and individual, I believe that I can use the basis of my own worldview toward the accomplishment of these aims in accordance with my own values, drawing upon modern practices in a utilitarian fashion. This is essentially to take the good and leave the bad.
Modern man is beset with various ailments derived from the distorted conditions of the present social order. Without infringing upon the domain that is reserved for tradition alone, I believe that it is possible, within the framework of limitations that the modern practice presents, to instill within others values that may assist them in overcoming these ailments and thereby to establish an opening to the saving grace that tradition alone provides.
For the present moment, I feel resolved that I am capable and suited to this profession, that is ideals are noble albeit limited, and that I should endeavor to secure it as my career.
It remains now to find out precisely what area of psychotherapy I will specialize in and the steps necessary to get there.
Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.