I am very interested in modes of psychology which are focused on intrapsychic dynamics, and which embrace the reality that much of what makes us who we are, and much of how we experience ourselves, our lives, and our world, are not, in fact, rationally-based.
As a Christian priest, I am grounded in the Christian Scripture, and also the works of the Church Fathers, and the Desert Fathers. Early attempts to develop a synthesis of Greek and Jewish thought about the mind, soul, person, body, etc., resonate deeply with me. From those diverse Christian outlooks, and the development of Tradition that followed, I find a sense of Christian psychology which is focused on integrity, self-examination, and of a sort of sacramental realism: of looking for the holy, and being honest about its presence.
I find that dichotomous thinking ends up for me very closely linked with the Christian story of the Fall in a way which has deep connections with psychology. We have such an inclination to divide ourselves up into good and bad, the parts we like and the parts we would like to be rid of, and we do likewise with other people. In our society, we have a preference for the idea that the good is singular, and that one should be able to isolate the good, get rid of the bad: that it should be possible to keep only the good parts, and that this is the ideal way to be. I do not find this an adequate view of the human person in any aspect. Likewise, this fosters a destructive, extraction-oriented mode of engagement with our environment, with work, and with one another.
I find myself likewise grounded in the Jungian tradition of psychology, with the emphasis on wholeness and integrity.
If we say that we are only rational, material beings, we deny an obvious reality. If we try to avoid what is not conscious, or to deny any part of ourselves, it will find us out.
These are religious and psychological inevitabilities, found readily in Jonah and in Jung, in Genesis and in society; the alternative is readily found in the sacramental and in the psychotherapeutic. It is possible to live differently. We must, all of us, endeavour to be whole, even if, as we find in the story of the Exodus, and in the faults of all our heroes, we will never quite make it there in life.
We each have to find our own set of pursuits, and our own grounding story, which enable us to live that way. I find this practice in a million everyday things, but particularly in the practice of my religion, being in Jung reading groups, participating in psychotherapy, and practicing Aikido. These are all aspects of the same thing: the pursuit of wholeness, resilience, and a deeper connection with what is real.