I am not trained in psychology, nor do I completely understand psychological terms. I am strictly speaking in a nonprofessional manner using nonprofessional terms about psychology, and about how I believe psychotherapy fails to address the primary problem regarding the mind. The primary problem, in my assessment, is letting go of one's illusionary self, or ego, that false construction of mind that inhibits true transformation.

Lurking behind the fundamentals of psychology is an intimated real self. This is similar to a soul theory, the idea being that a person or entity controls our thoughts, and if that "something" is adjusted properly, our problems will be resolved. For example, memories of our childhood might be preventing our adjustment in adult life. This is an assumption that "our" memories and "our" adult life somehow belong to a permanent self. We create an image in our minds of ourselves – our experiences, our memories, our life.

But there is nothing behind the image of ourselves that we create in our minds, no little man or woman stands behind "ourselves." There are only thoughts and thought construction, as one thought following another creates everything in the mind; everything, of course, except true creativity itself, which manifests in the absence of thought.

With therapy, these memories are aired out and supposedly resolved so that the patient can understand them and go on with their lives. The assumption is that this is all happening to a real person. The question of memory and thought, per se, is never brought up. It is never hinted that nothing stands behind memory and thought, that they are simply mental reactions to stimulus. The illusion remains, and is promoted, that a "self" is going through the therapy. The fact that memory and thought are all that there is; that there is no controller behind them; no self, no person - is never addressed

Arguably, this kind of admission; that nothing stands behind our thoughts, would leave many patients hanging by a thin thread, a precarious thread that could easily break because of their strong identity and attachment with the illusionary self, which, if false, would leave them with no footing. This is perhaps why the delusion is encouraged by many therapists. Or, it might be encouraged because the psychologist has never realized this for him or herself.

If the professional has actually realized no-self, perhaps through extensive meditation or a transcendent experience, then, I believe, the therapy would be much different and much more effective. Practitioners of meditation that have been practicing many years understand the workings of memory and thought, and their minds become balanced, as do their lives. This practice has taken time, however, and effort, and therefore what they have learned and experienced cannot be transferred as knowledge to another. This is what the professional is faced with when a patient arrives completely deluded about their mind and caught up in their illusionary selves. Although a patient must experience no-self with their own minds before real progress can be made, how does the professional proceed?

The easy way out for therapists is to continue with present practices. Present practices, however, may never get to the root of a patient's problem. Getting to the root of the problem requires proactive action on the patient's part, where he or she actually learns about thought and memory rather than simply becoming absorbed by past thoughts and memories. This would involve patients becoming familiar with their thoughts, which is meditation. As patients become familiar with their thoughts and thought processes, they can slowly step back from the gravity of the illusionary memories and thoughts, and begin to become freer.

My only background on this subject has been my mind's experiences in meditation, where while practicing meditation I detected thoughts blossoming, one after the other, in a corner of my mind. Each one initially appeared as a single frame but quickly developed into a storyline, a dramatic movie. It might begin with a picture of myself sitting cross-legged and meditating, followed by the next picture, perhaps that of a friend. These two pictures were so fast that they created an illusion that the picture of "me" was watching my friend.

This went on in an endless sequence; pictures followed by memories, creating the illusion of a watcher observing the stories being created by my memory, and I instinctively understood, as an insight, that this all I am; one thought following another in a continuous stream, merely a series of pictures followed by the mind's memories of those pictures. There is no fundamental self.

I believe that this kind of information, if understood at the right time, will end all but the most severe psychological problems. It can be a tremendous freedom. And meditation, if practiced correctly, provides a firm foundation of courage before these kinds of insights occur, and is therefore usually safe.

Maybe someday therapy will include a proactive participation where patients that are capable of relative sanity become grounded in a true reality. This would certainly benefit the patient, and create a sense of real accomplishment upon which true, compassionate professionals thrive.

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com