Prof. Sudhir Kakar
Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University
July 4th, 2002: Psychoanalysis and Eastern Spiritual Healing Traditions
This lecture examines the practice of healing in the Eastern spiritual traditions through an exploration of the important role empathy can play in psychoanalytic discourse and methods. Emphasizing the spiritual teacher or guru's empathy, Sudhir Kakar, while coming close to Heinz Kohut's ideas, claims that meditative practices activate a dormant unconscious faculty – tentatively identified by recent 'neurotheological' research through its traces in the brain – capable of enhancing the teacher-healer's empathic capacity. This, Kakar argues, allows for communication with the patient/seeker on more levels than the merely verbal and denotes a major contribution to psychoanalytic practice.