The Psychology Behind The Secret Wisdom of Ancient Parables

by Stanley Siegel

The practice of psychology today casts long dark shadows. Traditional therapists, trained to fix their attention on what is lacking, have no vision of how a patient’s problem or symptom can be a solution to life’s complex dilemmas and how it might provide benefits for its bearer. Nor can they see the creativity it takes to invent and maintain a set of “symptoms.” Instead, clients are viewed as “mentally ill,” directed into therapies that often do more harm than good.


Rather than pathologizing a patient’s problem or symptom, the goal of therapy ought to be to help them understand one fundamental principle of life — that what we think and believe creates our reality. A therapist’s job should be to guide a patient in attaining a reimagined self, based on who they wish to be and how they want to experience their lives. Traditional psychology and psychiatry seem dangerously oblivious to this principle.


Parables, more aligned with philosophical and religious tradition than conventional psychology, share in common this message, regardless of their cultural heritage. Narrative vessels packed with life lessons for how to live positively, they are powerfully transformative, entering our unconscious minds with the impact that a sermon, lecture, or therapeutic strategy rarely accomplishes. Through paradox, imagery, and mood, they suspend our resistance and, often with surgical accuracy, introduce us to a new, positive way of framing our thoughts.


For most of us, a ceaseless river of negative thinking based on family conditioning keep us from achieving this purpose . From a single negative thought, we go on to invent a detailed story which has little to do with the present circumstances. To achieve a state of uninterrupted  well-being , we must recognize the negativity of our thoughts, feelings, and behavior that have become the unconscious blueprint for your lives.


The practice of reading parables changes this thinking, sometimes even without our awareness. Their messages often bypass our rational minds, sinking deep into the unconscious, the way a hypnotic suggestion might. On the conscious level, their lessons can be further facilitated by taking specific actions. When we learn how to substitute positive thinking for conditioned thought errors, we can begin to let go of the past and reshape the present and future. By practicing such ideas as, taking responsibility, finding the opportunities in obstacles, forgiving and letting go and expressing gratitude, we learn more about who we truly are and how to live life without self-imposed limitations.


Living positively is the key to manifesting our best selves. And it is, after all, through self-fulfillment that we also open the gateway to improving the world


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