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Here is a little known fact: When he was teenager in Turkey, Byram Karasu received a package in the mail from Harley Davidson in the United States. His father had mail-ordered a bike for him. It was only when they opened up the boxes that they both realized they are dealing with a full size Hog. So between ages 16-26 young Byram Karasu rode a Harley and enjoyed every minute of it. Even though he may not agree with me, I would say it is possible that his interest in the study of God and godliness started in his young Harley days.

It is not often you come across a senior scientist, therapist, and thought leader in the research community, whose main interest is God. Dr. Byram Karasu is the chairman of the Behavioral Sciences Department at the Albert Einstein Institute in New York, and Chief Psychiatrist at the Montefiore Medical Center. His decades of research and interaction with people carrying different kinds of emotional and mental burden has led him to a simple conclusion: that it is only by striving to be godly and living a spiritual life that one can be truly happy. He established a new and fascinating branch of behavioral sciences research and practice called Spiritual Psychotherapy. He has also taken his new message beyond the psychology and psychiatry community to reach the general public with a series of best-selling books.

The Spirit of HappinessModern science and medicine have already accepted the unity of mind and body. Primary physicians talk with their patients about emotional stress, and psychologists and coaches talk with their clients about nutrition and exercise. However, in the triad of mind-body-spirit, spirituality is yet to become a part of the science and practice of modern medicine. Dr.  Karasu’s work makes the leap into spirituality from a scientific perspective. His books talk about God explicitly and propose a path towards inner peace and happiness. The underlying values and ideas overlap with some concepts of positive psychology, and with the different religious traditions: kindness, generosity, and above all – love. However, unlike some of the fields of research that only flirt with religion, Dr. Karasu’s work forms a unique marriage between scientific method and the leap of faith into believing in the divine.

Here is a short video excerpt of our conversation. I am curious to know your thoughts: how do you feel about a science of spirituality?

 

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