Seeking Enlightenment is both a personal and a professional memoir. It is a true story that I began to write while practicing psychotherapy as a young adult. With a deep interest in an evolutionary system of psychological evolution, I began the developmental story with the infant’s first weeks of life—when he is normally, but nevertheless “psychotically” oriented, not knowing inside from outside—and moved on through progressively more “healthy,” but still “dysfunctional” states, to the healthier “neurotic” stages of emotional life, and, finally, to Autonomy, the Western ideal of health. Because I was “staging” development, I was drawn to Jean Piaget’s cognitive—staging system, the most exacting and elegant such system in the field, and I found–as he had predicted—that it was eminently suitable for emotional development. However, his cognitive stages included three plateaus; whereas, I had found only two tiers of emotional development throughout my extensive and varied practice.
Now, I needed candidates for a third plateau. Having had an ambivalent relationship with spirituality during most of my adult life, a three-day retreat with the Dalai Lama had made a believer out of me, so I knew this third level must be spiritual as His Holiness would definitely not fit on my first or second developmental levels. I began to explore Eastern enlightenment, and after two fruitless trips to India, looking for a guru, miraculously, my guru, Swami Dayananda came to my hometown to give a two- day seminar to MIT students, and, in so doing, he found me. Since that time, I regularly took courses at his ashram in Saylorsburg, PA.
Swami Dayananda, unlike most Indian gurus I have known, was interested in Western psychology, and as he taught me about the evolution of spirituality, I told him about my psychological study which I called Jacob’s Ladder. As he instructed me about Eastern enlightenment, he suggested that I complete Jacob’s Ladder, by adding this Eastern component to Western psychology. He said that no one could be fully mature without spiritual growth. He called this maturation Ultimate Mental Health.