What Makes Metapsychiatry Different from Other Spiritual Teachings?

Despite their distinguishing differences, the many spiritual teachings currently being disseminated tend to have much in common. They advocate adherence to mindfulness practices, acts of loving kindness, and commitment to self-sacrifice to achieve a sense of unity with the governing force of the universe.

Contrasting more than a little with these principles are the often engaging, yet controversial and confrontational ideas of Metapsychiatry, the name given by the late Dr. Thomas Hora to his own discoveries during the second half of the last century. This pioneering psychiatrist offered his spiritual orientation to the psychotherapeutic community well before there was any genuine receptivity to it, despite the fact that he was honored with the Karen Horney award for contributions to psychiatry in 1958. Nevertheless, his understanding continues to benefit and bless the many hundreds of students, disciples and therapists who are aware of his clearly expressed body of work. This paper will briefly discuss some of the seemingly eccentric, idiosyncratic spiritual truths that he discerned and communicated.

Foremost among them was the nature of human consciousness. Metapsychiatry asserts that man cannot think, that he cannot create or invent thoughts, that he can only be aware of thoughts. It is an illusion that we think our own thoughts. Instead, Metapsychiatry posits the idea that all thoughts emanate either from the infinite creative mind of the universe, or from the ubiquitous human inclination to judge by appearances.

Consequently, thoughts can be classified as existentially valid or invalid, as demonstrated by their results. Existential validity is revealed by thoughts that are peace-enhancing, health-promoting, and spirit-uplifting, while existential invalidity is manifested by thoughts that are conflict-generating, illness-inducing, and spirit-deflating. The implication of this perspective is that man is both capable of discerning the difference between, and responsible for choosing, those thoughts to which attention will be paid, for this selectivity is the single most significant determinant of the quality of life. The extent to which these powers are exercised depends on man’s awareness of their importance and the values being cherished. It is simultaneously a humbling and enabling realization.

Corollary to this idea that man is a receptor and broadcaster of thoughts is the notion that the only real and valuable communication available is uni-directional: from God to and through man. What is usually considered human communication is characterized by Metapsychiatry as mere conversation, discussion, debate, contention, banter, or gossip, which are not authentic communication but rather forms of entertainment or verbal conflict. Real communication occurs when one or more individuals is participating in a search for the truth, and is thus open to receiving and acting as a conduit for inspired ideas radiating from the one creative mind.

Further, a basic postulate of Metapsychiatry states “there is no interaction anywhere; there is only omni-action everywhere.” This follows from the explanation of the nature of communication. Interaction, which is defined as “thinking about what others are thinking about what we are thinking,” is also an illusion. All kinds of imaginary events occur when we speculate about others. The phenomenon of concurrent fantasizing and bickering among supposedly independent, self-sustaining people is as insubstantial as nightly dreams. Instead, what is really happening is that the supportive mind of the universe, called Love-Intelligence by Metapsychiatry, is providing a life-enhancing omnipresence of harmony and goodness for all life forms. Without conscious awareness of this benevolent force, we become mired in interaction thought and its dire consequences.

It is only understanding or realization of this truth that can redeem us. Although various spiritual and religious teachings recommend diverse practices, rituals, and procedures to an operationally oriented audience, Metapsychiatry proclaims that only understanding matters, and that there is no effective prescription other than commitment to learning the truth of our being and the nature of reality. It states that “the meaning and purpose of life is to come to know reality.” Metapsychiatry calls itself the study of those things that cannot be done --- spiritual values and qualities like peace, assurance, gratitude, love, harmony, generosity, joy, etc. It observes that the “how-to” approach of many spiritual schools or leaders emphasizes behavior at the expense of knowledge. But only understanding transforms character.

Another illuminating insight recognized by Metapsychiatry concerns the nature of what is called difficult. Whatever we are not single-mindedly interested in, like giving up an addiction, losing weight, or finding God, is always difficult to achieve because ambivalence pulls us in two directions at once. The reason that progress on the spiritual path is perceived as being difficult is that we are not wholeheartedly interested in it. Interest is love, and whatever we love is appealing, attractive, and easy to be involved in. Therefore, Metapsychiatry points out to the complaining, would-be seeker that “trying is lying” and that “become enlightened is easy; it is only being interested in it that is difficult.”

Reflecting further on the primary role of interest in human consciousness and experience, Metapsychiatry clarifies what is needed for transcendence of the self. It asserts that being more interested in the truth than in being right constitutes self-transcendence, for when consciousness is focused beyond the self with a wholesome motive, receptivity is increased and self concerns cease being problematic.

Contrasting at once with traditional psychotherapeutic advice that counsels “taking care of oneself” and with religious/spiritual schools that emphasize the importance of helping others, Metapsychiatry offers “being here for God” as the only healing option to what it terms “self-confirmatory ideation.” Whether we are here for ourselves or for others, we are essentially self-concerned, and hence trapped in an invalid, illusory mode of being. But “God-centered living is the only alternative to self-confirmatory ideation.”

Many spiritual orientations proclaim the value of and employ visualization as a technique for attaining peace and spiritual understanding. But Metapsychiatry affirms that only the imaginary can be conjured by imagining, and visualization is utterly different from realization. While what is imagined or visualized can at best be believed, only what is real can be known, and only what is known is truly transformative of our character and our lives.

Further, Metapsychiatry avoids dealing with ideas about oneness of all being and thoughts about community. Instead, it cites the biblical statement that “the leaves on the trees were for the healing of the nations” as clarifying the relationship between individuals and God. There is no interaction between or community activity among the leaves of the tree. Each leaf relies on the tree itself as the source of its nature, uniqueness, being and sustenance. The understanding of the implications of this statement can help us to coexist harmoniously with our fellow spiritual beings.

Though various of its formulations may appear simple and even obvious to those unfamiliar with Metapsychiatry, their pungency and profundity can be appreciated by those willing to give some time to contemplate them, for they have proven to be of great value for the many that have been able to do so.