Love Story

A new spiritual paradigm heralds all change for psychology

Posted Jan 09, 2011

William James

Like lovers long held apart, psychology and spirituality were made for each other. Neither feels complete without its counterpart and, since William James published ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience' as long ago as 1902, they have been coming together. Today heralds the arrival of a new holistic or ‘psycho-spiritual' paradigm. Coherent and accessible, it will impact for the better the way we people see ourselves and each other.

In the last century, Carl Jung, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Evelyn Underhill and Aldous Huxley each gave momentum to the movement in their own ways. In the last 30 years, James Fowler, John Swinton, David Fontana, David Hay and Victor Schermer, together with members of BASS (the British Association for the Study of Spirituality), also working in the academic fields of psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy, have largely defined this great new ‘holistic' body of ideas.

A paradigm is a world-view, a way of seeing or construing people and the universe which underlies the theories, rules and methodologies of science. Such a model incorporates values, assumptions and beliefs accepted by the scientific community and by those engaged in applying science, such as in the fields of health, social care and education.

Just as the classical physics of Isaac Newton was surpassed by the theories of Albert Einstein and quantum mechanics without being invalidated, so is psycho-spiritual psychology necessarily a development of the preceding and currently prevailing secular-scientific approach.


Isaac Newton


The paradigm shift announced today therefore involves a major conceptual change in both theory and practice. The ramifications have few boundaries. With consequences at both individual and collective levels, it marks a significant step in the social evolution of mankind.

For example, while maintaining the obvious connection, it makes a clear and useful distinction between religion and spirituality. In doing so, it offers a conceptual way forward when dealing with differences of theological ideas or, for that matter, in any kind of ideological disagreement that can so often and painfully break down into destructive verbal and physical conflict. Think ‘both/and' (we may both have valid points), rather than ‘either/or' (you're the loser, Buddy), and you begin to get the holistic picture on this and many other conundrums.


Albert Einstein


Like psychology and spirituality, we people have been going our own ways for too long and often seem far apart. What we share outweighs our differences. Seamless interconnectedness between each one of us, nature and the entirety of humanity are principles of spirituality. Investigate this, find ways to accept the wisdom of it, and we can start growing together. The future begins today.




                                                                 Copyright Larry Culliford