The Observing Self

Still, it is possible to understand mystical science in Western psychological terms and The Observing Self at­tempts to provide a framework for doing so. Esoteric religious terminology is not necessary to express what mys­ticism is about. In the past, such language was used as a mat­ter of social necessity or convenience. Linking mysticism to religion is not essential and is in fact a hindrance in a modern cul­ture whose approach to nature and human experience is through the physical sciences and psychology.

It is my hope that by providing this contemporary framework Western psychological science will be able to make use of the perspec­tive and knowledge of mysticism. This will aid in our developing a more comprehensive and effective understanding of human beings, their suffering, happiness, and fulfillment. My aim is not to instruct our readers in how to adapt mystical techniques to psycho­therapy. Such applications would be inappropriate for most therapists and pa­tients. At this stage, the value of the mysti­cal tradition for the West­erner is in the perspective provided on the self and human purpose. This understanding can in­form and orient therapists so that, without departing from standard psychotherapeutic procedures, they can effect improved outcomes. I have written The Observing Self not only for the mental health professional, but also for the general reader interested in a clearer understanding of both psychotherapy and mysticism.

Assuming that most readers will know considerably more about psychotherapy than about mysticism, I have placed greater emphasis on the latter. Since both psycho­therapy and mysticism are as wide and complex as human life itself, a complete description of either is outside the scope of this book. I have therefore focused on ideas that can serve as a bridge between these two spheres of knowledge.


A voice whispered to me last night:

There is no such thing as a voice whispering in the night!”

- Haidar Ansari



Chapter 1: An Invitation [001]


Chapter 2: Mysticism as a Science [017]

Chapter 3: Psychotherapy as an Art [025]

Chapter 4: The Origins of Mysticism [033]

Chapter 5: Intuition [043]


Chapter 6: The Object Self [065]

Chapter 7: Motivation, Virtue, and Consciousness [077]

Chapter 8: The Observing Self [091]

Chapter 9: The Trance of Ordinary Life [119]


Chapter 10: Meditation [135]

Chapter 11: Teaching Stories [153]

Chapter 12: Mysticism and Psychotherapy [167]

Appendix - Selecting a Mystical School [179]

Notes [185]

Can be purchased here

Author's Home page