Brant Cortright

Brant Cortright


The Yoga and Psyche Conference

Brant Cortright, Ph.D. is professor of psychology at CIIS, where he was Chair of the Integral Counseling Psychology program for 18 years. He is the author of Integral Psychology: Yoga, Growth and Opening the Heart (SUNY Press) as well as Psychotherapy and Spirit: Theory and Practice in Transpersonal Psychotherapy (SUNY Press.) He is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco.

Bhakti Yoga, Psychology and Neuroscience

In Sri Aurobindo's integral yoga, the transformation of the world occurs through our evolving soul, hidden in the cave of the heart (hrdâye guhâyâm.) Opening our heart to unite with our Divine identity and Love is what bhakti yoga aspires to, so we can bring forth the soul's radiance, joy and peace. But the soul's deeper heart is "hidden by a surface heart of emotion", the impurities of our wounding and defenses that obscure this light and cause so much difficulty in the world. Opening the heart is arguably the most important task facing humanity at this time. Bhakti yoga and psychotherapy both seek to expand the heart's capacity for feeling and love, but they work in different ways on different parts of our being, which can create much confusion. Bhakti yoga opens to the inner heart and the soul's power of love but stumbles upon the unconscious defenses against feeling that it was never intended to deal with. Psychology and neuroscience-informed psychotherapy reveal how emotion wires the brain and organizes our experience to guide us in navigating the world but is generally blind to the inner realities of spirit. An integral approach unites both.

CE credit (MFT, LCSW, RN) offered for the session