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Sacred Psychology of Love
The Quest for Relationships
That Unite Heart and Soul
by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.
As a child, I always knew I was meant to work with people. When people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I wasn't sure. I couldn't decide whether to be an airline stewardess, a missionary, a nurse or a doctor. By the time I entered college, I had decided to go for a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
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After a series of lightning mind changes, marriage and three children later, I returned to college to study psychology. I completed my undergraduate work and ploughed my way through graduate school, beginning my professional work as a school psychologist after I achieved my master's degree. When I completed my Ph.D. in clinical psychology in 1965, I began a combination of counseling, teaching, consulting and private practice. Little did I know the further directions my life would soon take.
I was working for the University of Colorado—as a psychologist in the counseling center and an assistant professor teaching graduate courses for the department of psychology. These were the turbulent sixties where young people were alternately shouting, "Down with the establishment!" and searching for a higher meaning to life. The drug world was upon us and we clinicians were scrambling to understand what these young people were going through.
And that was when I began the wedding of psychology and spirituality that has formed the major thrust of the rest of my life. Many of the young people that I counseled were into Eastern religions and "new age" teachings. And in order to know where they were coming from, I began to widen my own understanding of the world's major religions and different understandings about God. This was not the first time in my life that this had occurred.
As a child, I was blessed with exposure to several of the world's religions. My mother had been Catholic, my father was Baptist, and we had a Christian Science housekeeper and a Pentacostal gardener. One of my sister's friends was Jewish, and one of mine was Catholic. Then there was the Chinese family who ran a little grocery who were Buddhists and the Japanese truck farmer whose family embraced Shintoism. I went to a rural consolidated school where we had Japanese, Chinese, Caucasian, Mexican and Indian children, and I particularly remember the special grace of one girl in my class, Ramona, who a princess in the Hopi tribe.
I was raised Christian, and I remember thinking to myself as a child, "I wonder why everyone argues so much about religion? They are all about finding God, and I think God loves everybody. Maybe God just has different ways of contacting different people."
So back to the sixties and early seventies—and the broadening of my adult awareness of how spirituality and psychology interface. In my effort to understand the youth, I became a faculty sponsor for an honors course, "Experimental Studies in Community Living," which was an early attempt by college youth to live and work together, communally. Many of these young people were earnestly searching for their spiritual purpose in life. And we spent long hours together in dialogue, meditation and sometimes spirited discussion.
In my own spiritual quest, I studied Edgar Cayce's work and the A.R.E. books, A Search for God I and II; Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings and his magnificent book, The Autobiography of a Yogi; Baird Spaulding's five-volume series, Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East and many others of like nature. I also discovered two little books, The Impersonal Life and The Way Out, that talked about the I AM within us. I realized that this was the missing link-the I AM, meaning God within each one of us. I wanted to understand more about it.
One day I was in a session with a private client in a downtown Boulder, Colorado office, kindly offered to me in the evenings by a psychiatrist friend of mine. The client was a woman whom I had been working with in therapy for over six months. I knew her, I knew her psychological dynamics, I knew the therapeutic direction we were taking. Or at least I thought I did.
She had just asked me a question and I opened my mouth to reply—and my mind went blank. It was as if everything I knew about her was erased in that second. Furthermore, I had no idea what she had just asked me—or how to make a sensible response. Trying not to panic, I closed my eyes for a moment and offered a fervent, silent prayer to Jesus or anybody else up there to help me. I opened my eyes again and started to respond.
To this day I do not know exactly what I said or what her question had been in the first place, but apparently I was on track because my client was nodding. Words and concepts came flowing out in a most organized and effortless way. My client was very attentive and pleased, and we continued the session with me not having the least idea of what I would say next.
Every time I opened my mouth and spoke, I was an observer of a miraculous inner thought transference and therapeutic process that was clearly beyond my clinical expertise. When my client left, I was still in shock. I thanked Jesus, the angels and whoever else might be helping me—and went to bed that night excited, mystified and wondering where my professional life was going.
This unusual therapy process repeated itself with different clients over a period of approximately six months. I progressed from being quite nervous about the whole thing to looking forward with great interest to what I was going to say next. I knew that it was not me doing this therapy, it was coming from a higher spiritual dimension.
I was continually awed by the depth of spiritual/psychological understanding that unfolded, the accuracy of therapeutic interventions that were coming through me and the progress of my clients during this period of time.
When the phenomenon stopped after approximately six months, I had an inner realization that God was saying to me, "Okay, I've shown you how it's done. Now it's your turn to figure out how to do it yourself."
I felt somewhat bereft but realized that now that I had experienced true God-given therapy, I was meant to learn how to contact that Higher Source on my own. I was also aware that I had been allowed to experience the missing dimension of psychotherapy—the spirituality of the soul. And to integrate that dimension in my ongoing work meant plenty of study, meditation and prayers, and an acceleration of my own spiritual/psychological growth.
Shortly upon the heels of this realization, in the fall of 1973, a former client of mine introduced me to the teachings of Mark and Elizabeth Prophet through the Summit Lighthouse. Through those teachings, I discovered a spiritual culmination of all that I had learned in Christianity, Eastern teachings, Edgar Cayce, Yogananda—and the teachings of the Great I AM within each one of us. I began to realize the true meaning of psychology as the Greeks knew it, as "the study of the soul." And I knew that I was finally on track to fulfilling my mission in this life.
I spent the next twenty-five years continuing my psychotherapy practice and working closely with Elizabeth Clare Prophet. This has been a path of integrating psychological concepts with spiritual truths, and applying them in teaching, consulting and therapeutic practice. I have come to my own personal realization that science and spirituality are truly two halves of a divine whole. And I continue to be the excited observer of the amazing benefits to my own personal and professional growth as well as to the accelerated healing and growth of my clients.
The continuing quest for sacred psychological truth has brought my clinical practice to a whole new level. Every day I see how the blending of spirituality and psychology enables clients to achieve breakthroughs they would otherwise not have achieved by only applying the scientific principles of psychology.
On the spiritual level, I believe that as we master the psychological dynamics of our own soul and of our relationship with God and with one another, we set the foundation for the fulfillment of our soul's mission on earth and our ultimate return Home to God.
And so, onward with the story of relationships—where they begin, where they are intended to go and the steps and choices that move us toward the unfolding of our destiny-on earth and beyond.
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