Dissertation Title:

The Eroticism, Spirituality, and Neurotheology of the Beloved: Skillful Means and Wisdom Working Together to Achieve Individuation


John R. Schairer

Date, Time & Place:

July 17, 2023 at 1:00 pm


In popular culture, the hero’s journey is often considered to be a journey of adventure and exploration. But on a deeper, depth psychological level, it is an inward journey to higher levels of consciousness and individuation. A Vajrayana Buddhist sacred biography, Lady of the Lotus Born: The Life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal, provides such a perspective. Master Padmasambhava asks Yeshe Tsogyal to be his consort in his quest to achieve Buddhahood. Without her help, he explains, the results of his labors would have been meager and slow. The dissertation looks at the role of the beloved in the quest for individuation and higher levels of consciousness from historical, mythological, psychological, and neurotheological perspectives.

The beloved is one of the threads that runs through human history as the eternal feminine archetype. The dissertation uses Plato’s hierarchical “ladder of love” to provide structure to this research. A. H. Almaas tells us that through study we can cut away the veils that obscure our view of the beloved and the path to achieving higher levels of consciousness.

Chapter Two discusses the physically beautiful body of the beloved. Physical love

can be divided into vulgar love that ends when desire has been satiated and honest love which attempts to take one to higher levels of intellectual and spiritual consciousness. Chapter Three discusses the beauty of the beloved’s mind by reviewing several myths. Myths are the stories that attempt to explain some of life’s deeper questions and mysteries. Chapter Four views the beloved from a psychological perspective and discusses the roles of duality and the transcendent function in achieving higher levels of consciousness. Chapter Five considers the beloved from a neurotheological perspective to show how the structure of our brain may contribute to our spirituality. Chapter Six, the concluding chapter, offers reflections on how the beloved and the absolute unitary being might contribute to our spirituality.

  • Program/Track/Year: Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology, I, 2015
  • Chair: Dr. Patrick Mahaffey
  • Reader: Dr. Dana White
  • External Reader: Dr. Louis Meldman
  • Keywords: Anima, Beloved, Buddhahood, Consort, Courtly Love, Eternal Feminine, Individuation, Neurotheology, Transcendent Function