Healing Images

Fractal Patterns in Nature

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Love, Logically

I recently started my Masters in Counseling Psychology, my program is rooted in Systems theory and transpersonal in its focus. There are many definitions for the word transpersonal, and because the field is young (35 years old) it is constantly expanding and transforming itself. I am constantly reflecting on how lucky I am to have found this place, it feels like home. Spirit and Soul are at the core of what I think about on a daily basis, and the first topic we were introduced to in this program was death. Experiential exercises including Psychosynthesis and Mindfulness thrust us into the depths of this dark topic, but while there I found something unexpectedly light, Love.

Death and Life are rooted together so deeply. I have spent much of my first quarter reflecting on the loved ones I have lost, and I don’t simply remember the grief I felt at their loss, I also remember the life they lived. More specifically I feel the love that they gave. In doing so, I think about the life I am living, the love I am giving. It is reflecting on death, that I see new life.

As a child I felt very closed off to love. Wary of trusting the solidity of others, much of my poetry and prose is an exploration of those feelings. It is strange, I write from a place that is so guarded in order to transcend those feelings. And transcend I have. In these few short weeks, writing and reflecting on past work, I have unfolded in new ways. I am excited in new ways for life, and the experiences I will share with my loved ones.

As a previously defensive and cynical lover of love, I need to see the logic here. Emotionally powerful states of mind have logic to them. I have come to see that the purpose of love is to come to know another deeply, and contribute to their wellness and dreams. In order to do this, you must question yourself how you may I come to know this person, how can I contribute. It must be consciously considered. Listening to this person, intuitively taking in this information is not something that happens on it own, you must care. In order to truly care, you must transcend your own selfishness and egocentricity. In my experience, this is tough work, our ego is more pervasive than we know. Ego roots itself, deep. But transcending this sense of “I” to share a piece of yourself with another gives life a vibrancy that is untouched by any other emotion.

You are irreplaceable.

May all beings be happy.

Nostalgia

I just recently returned from a ten day Vipassana meditation retreat where I practiced an average of 12 hrs a day in noble silence. Verbal communication is something that have always found extremely important because I have noticed that all of the healthiest people in my life communicate authentically- and all of the most miserable people in my life seemed to internalize and shelter their true emotions, causing them intense suffering. Through my coursework I have seen that psychological health and well being comes from acceptance of the authentic self, both internally and in relationship.

What does talking have to do with silence? I’ll get there I promise.

I found that experiencing mental silence (coupled with the teaching of Vipassana) is a path through which one can begin to experience authentic emotions. It was shocking to me how deep our emotional responses go- and at times, when reacting we may not even be aware what we are communicating to ourselves and others. While I was on retreat I naturally missed a lot of things. I missed verbal connection with my family, I missed music (surprised?) and I missed touch. This made me think a lot about nostalgia. What causes us to feel connected to something? Why is an old picture at a thrift store in Portland making me fall on the floor laughing?

We create stories and connections in verbal and nonverbal interaction with ourselves and others. Our attachments both personal and generational says a lot about what we are connecting to or with. At this time in my life I notice that my friends and I have grown increasingly (and at an alarming speed) close to technology. Many people I talk to about this highlight the problems it causes behaviorally, but I want to talk about some goodness I see in it. We are now provided with a channel to connect with one another from anywhere in the world.

I skype with my best friend in Thailand.

I just talked music with a dear pal in Madrid.

That is something I am incredibly grateful for in my life. The ability to travel the world and stay connected to those you wish to share your life with is a freedom I am just beginning to taste. Specifically, the introduction of Timeline on facebook has been of interest to me. While scoping it out with friends I noticed how nostalgic this layout is. Not only are you able to give attention to major, meaningful life events, you are able to go back to any point in your life and see what you may have been up to. For those of us who have been on facebook for over 6 years, thats a whole lot of personal data. I felt extremely nostalgic glancing through some of my old memories that facebook has preserved. I want to end by saying that there is an incredible amount of beauty in the present moment, so revel in it, taking juuuust enough time to preserve some of the nostalgia you wish to indulge in later in life.

Stretch Everything but the Truth

Boundary lines, of any type, are never found in the real world itself, but only in the imagination of the mapmakers.  -Ken Wilber

What is meant by non-duality, Mahatmi? It means that light and shade, long and short, black and white, can only be experienced in relation to each other; light is not independent of shade, nor black of white. There are no opposites, only relationships. In the same way, nirvana and the ordinary world of suffering are not two things but related to each other. There is no nirvana except where the world of suffering is; there is no world of suffering apart from nirvana. For existence is not mutually exclusive.  -Lankavatara Sutra

Today I find myself writing about mysterious things. Things like truth, religion, and energy. It is impossible to absolutely define these things, but I wish to express my thoughts in relationship to them.

My relationship to truth can be described when I imagine someone living an honest life. To me, this looks someone who lives in accordance with a unique morality, personal to him/her.

Mantra…My love of poetry leaves me thinking in metaphor, and therefore before words leap across the page, I see them first in image. A Mantra is a phrase spoken ritually to cultivate personal character and to strive for authenticity in ones life. Manta and truth are interwoven.

Think for a moment…ask yourself this: “What is a thought I have recurrently?”  The answer (there may be many) will give you insight to your inner nature. I believe we all carry several if not thousands of them, some positive, some not so…These are the voices of the many dimensions of the self. Roberto Assagoli, the founder of Psychoanalysis named these subpersonalities.

Assagioli saw that people had two major phases to their psychological growth.The first was the development of the “I” or the center of the personality. There are “subpersonalities” within an individual which are internal structures that are formed through conflicts of normal human experience. The healthy development of an individual integrates and balances these subpersonalities into the I. Therapeutically, this process can be helped by “mapping” the unconscious through dreamwork, and psychological testing.  He called this phase “personal psychosynthesis.” (pp. 57-58)

The second phase in psychological growth according to Assagioli  occurs as a “spiritual psychosynthesis” when the personal psychosynthesis is completed. It is a phase where the individual begins to locate their superconscious, transcendent self or spiritual center which is when a sense of connection to all of humanity and nature and is experienced as unity. This process is also fostered in psychotherapy through techniques such as meditation, inner dialogue with an inner sage or teacher, and active imagination exercises (Battista, 1996).

Understanding inner “mantras” is a large part of this first psychological stage of life. Our use of these beliefs in relationship to others is our life-long journey into our  personal religion.

Imagine by Mary Oliver

I don’t care for adjectives, yet the world
fills me with them.
And even beyond what I see, I imagine more.

Seeing, for example, with understanding,
or with acceptance and humility and
without understanding,
into the heart of the bristly, locked-in worm
just as it’s becoming what we call the luna,
that green tissue-winged, strange, graceful,
fluttering thing.

Will death allow such transportation of the eye?
Will we see then into the breaking open
of the kernel of corn,
the sprout plunging upward through damp clod
and into the sun?

Well, we will all find out, each of us.
And what would we be, beyond the yardstick,
beyond supper and dollars,
if we were not filled with such wondering?