The seventh and most convincing case of all lies in Gautama’s psychologisation of spiritual processes which is in my view no accident. There is no doubt whatsoever that it was Gautama as Buddha that introduced psychology to an Indian mind that recognised no such thing. The question is why this would figure so prominently in Gautama’s mind and the immediate response is that it must have been something that plagued his psyche incessantly? Just like millions of people with anxiety he simply could not stop thinking. He thought too much! Internal cognitive processes were not something that occupied the minds of the Brahmans that oversaw the Vedic rituals. There was something clearly distinct and unique in Buddha’s teaching. Intra-psychic awareness, the psychology of the dependent-arising process and mindfulness were all entirely novel concepts within the Indian aethos. These ideas of course emerged from the mind of Gautama but yet provides further evidence of how much the processes of his mind affected him, and had affected the way he had instilled the experiences of his life. These psychological processes and Gautama’s insights into them were utterly individual. They were very much reflections of his personal psyche.
For Gautama his cognitions were pre-eminent and his obsessions filled with torment. This much is clearly illustrated in the discourses. And the path to ending these torments clearly was the path that Gautama sought with such obsessionality and such tenacity. This is universally what every sufferer of anxiety seeks, an escape from the torment of an anxious mind. In Gautama’s case these torments would be calmed only by the practices of Buddhahood. He was in search of a spiritual healing for the torment of his psychological suffering. The history that we have been given suggests that he could not rest. He was driven by unrelenting internal psychological conflict.
The fact that Buddha’s practices still work to calm the troubled mind so effectively cannot be an accident and it would be ludicrous to suggest that it was. It would be an intense test of credibility to suggest that this was some kind of exotic ancient coincidence. It is fairly clearly the perfectly understandable effect of a very definite cause. As Buddha himself would attest dependent-arising really does reflect reality. Buddha clearly understood this! Anxiety or in his terms dukkha had a cause. Dealing with the cause of that anxiety or dukkha resulted in the disappearance or cessation of that pain.
‘Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.’
Anxiety begins because of a cause and anxiety ends because of a cause.
Becoming aware of that cause, recognising it for what it is, facing it and dealing with it in a way that made life more possible became integral to the path or the way of Gautama-Buddha.