Psyche cannot be totally different from matter, for how otherwise could it move matter? And matter cannot be alien to psyche, for how else could matter produce psyche? Psyche and matter exist in the same world, and each partakes of the other, otherwise any reciprocal action would be impossible.
If research could only advance far enough, therefore, we should arrive at an ultimate agreement between physical and psychological concepts. Our present attempts may be bold, but I believe they are on the right lines.
--Carl Jung, AION
Scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts happen in various disciplines on a regular basis. Some practitioners in a field are quick to adapt new models into their conceptualizations and work, while others who are reluctant to change cannot make the leap in consciousness. Continuing to adhere to outdated, but familiar philosophies and practices, they represent the established order and its preference for the status quo.
The healing arts, both medical and psychological, have not been exempt from this persistent human pattern, even though in our understanding of the fundamental nature of reality through scientific understanding, advances have been phenomenal.
The popularity of the alternative health movement, human potential movement, recovery movement, and self-help has shown that a large segment of the population is open to change in their approach to well being. A variety of so-called healing techniques have become available with widely varying credibility and results.
Whether they have any scientifically traceable therapeutic effect, or not, most are rooted in the idea of treating the WHOLE PERSON, rather than mechanically treating bodies in a maintenance factory. Alternative health practices encourage preventive maintenance as well as physical and psychological self-care, not just crisis management.
OLD SCIENCE/NEW SCIENCE
The history of science is one of evolution, whereby old models are integrated into or superceded by more encompassing models which push beyond the old boundaries. For example, in physics, which is generally considered the base science that sets the foundation for others, the mechanical view of reality and the nature of the universe described by Newtonian physics gave way to the "relativistic" concepts of Einstein, which in turn became accompanied by Quantum Mechanics, and now Chaos Theory (CDS).
Newton postulated a clockwork universe based on absolute motions. This theory alleged that once the initial conditions and forces were known, all future motion could be predicted infinitely. This seemed to work well for calculating planetary motion and other large-scale phenomena, but in the sub-atomic world the theory was superceded by the inherent uncertainty of Quantum Mechanics.
These models have shown themselves to be functionally accurate -- that is they account for observed reality -- but only by ignoring or denying chaos. For centuries, science has shuttled chaotic phenomena off to the side, because they could not define or explain it. Current research tells us that there is chaotic fluctuation in the planetary motion and the Universe contains several "strange attractors" of vast proportion. In the sub-atomic reality, chaos is probably the agent behind quantum fluctuation. So it is fundamental.
The reality is not one of a clockwork universe, but a flow between chaos and anti-chaos which creates adaptation. Chaos begets order, and order begets chaos (entropy). This holds true at all levels of phenomena, macrocosm to microcosm: "AS ABOVE, SO BELOW."
This interplay of chaos and order also influences biological evolution. Darwin could never have guessed the existence of self-organization as an innate property of complex systems, like genes acting as self-regulating networks. Now we are beginning to understand evolution as the marriage of natural selection AND self-organization.
The chaos of which we speak is not totally random, but deterministic. We can see its enfolded order now thanks to the advent of sophisticated computer graphics with incredible calculating ability. Now we can separate the signal from the noise, informationally speaking, and find the hidden order. But we still can never predict an outcome for any period of time, but we can predict parameters. And we can visually realize the beauty of these mathematical concepts through fractals.
Chaos theory has amplified the classical and quantum worldviews into one in which reality may be seen as a SHADOW OF ILLUSION, existing on the edge between chaos and order. We all have direct perception in our lives of the continual by-play between chaos and order, chaos and order. We are taught that chaos can be catastrophic or barely disturbing, but rarely are we taught that the experience of chaos and the letting go which accompanies it are OK.
The interplay of chaos and order represents a fundamental, yet paradoxical state which is a union of opposites at the boundary where they mesh. In the past many cultures developed philosophies which embraced chaos as a welcomed part of growth and healing.
For example, in medieval alchemy, the legendary PRIMA MATERIA symbolized both the chaotic beginning of the enterprise and the most primal state of being -- chaos, as initial and most fundamental condition. The return to favor of chaos in science may herald its return in our culture. It may mean a release for some from rigidly ordered lives of compulsivity, perfectionism, workaholism, and rationalism toward a more balanced lifestyle.
Established medical and psychological science is still based on the theories of Newton. The human, by and large, is seen as a mechanical collection of parts interacting and following set rules or laws. And in psychology, for the most part, the mechanistic model still prevails, perhaps in its latest incarnation as the cybernetic model ("mind as computer").
Though the shamanic approach to the whole person is just as strongly rooted in tradition, most of medical science does not recognize the role of spirit, soul, or emotional attitudes in healing except in the most superficial way. Alternative health practices are allegedly holistic, but mostly use unorthodox ways of dealing with symptoms or parts of the person. They may strike a deeper chord, yet not get to the core of the problem.
Healing science still continues the Newtonian illusion that 1). it is possible to be outside of what is happening, as an objective observer who manipulates the client, and that somewhere is an absolute or non-involved frame of reference against which all can be measured; and, 2). it is possible to understand the whole by reducing it to its parts and studying them.
As guiding philosophies, underlying principles, the foundational concepts of the new science of chaos theory are still unknown and foreign territory. But they speak volumes of the true nature of reality. Here lies fertile ground, at last, for planting the seeds to heal the mind/body split fostered by Cartesian duality.
Psychosomatic phenomena show the profound synergistic interaction of the physical and mental worlds--which in fact are ONE WORLD. For example, it is well-known in medicine that arthritis sufferers have a characteristic personality profile, which can be revealed using the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory). It is sometimes referred to as "the iron hand syndrome." Desperate desire for a strong sense of control seems to lead to a permanent position of "holding on" in the musculature and skeletal structure of the hand.
Emotions can damage health since emotions and the body are inseparable. The psyche effects the body through the glands, allowing the personality to invite dis-ease. When not brought into consciousness, unconscious conflicts can manifest as symbolic (though real) ailments.
BODY LANGUAGE is direct: "I can't stomach this." "It's eating away at me." might indicate ulcers. Other well-known psychosomatic disorders include asthma, allergies, colitis, anorexia, bulemia, panic attacks, hypertension, certain skin disorders, and perhaps even some cancers.
A woman who longs for her unborn children may develop benign fibroids or malignant tumors, instead. These and other diseases indicate that there is significant emotional conflict within. The arthritic, for example, reacts with unconscious muscular contraction, like an infant instead of an adult. The asthmatic may be drowning in the inner sea of emotional turmoil; the allergy sufferer holding back a reservoir of uncried tears.
THE ESSENCE OF BEING HUMAN IS EXPERIENCED AS CONSCIOUSNESS. The entire organism and its functioning is affected by the state of consciousness. In this context, consciousness means a field in which the entire universe participates. In our model of consciousness, this field is described as being not unlike Jung's concept of the collective unconscious. We use the term to mean the essence of existence, the primal matrix of both organic and inorganic life as a self-organizing, self-generating, and self-iterating force.
Our essence emerges from this vast pool of force (SOURCE), and throughout growth and development certain aspects of it enter our awareness, while others remain subconscious or unconscious, but affect us just the same. This field is a medium of connectivity which interacts with the time/space field, gravitational field, and electromagnetic fields which create the foundation of our dimension.
Thus we experience ourselves as conscious, corporeal entities existing in three spatial dimensions plus time. This is our experience because of the limits of our information input system--the senses. We have extended our senses through technology from incredibly finite realms to the edge or birth of the universe.
Our awareness cannot be limited to a view of ourselves as humans in local time and space. Our consciousness can soar, through imagination and creativity, like an eagle far and wide, drawing from the collective to widen our experiential perspectives. Our larger reality is that WE ARE ONE WITH ALL, and we can feel that when we look at ourselves that way. Even science tells that everything in the universe is simply connected, a seamless webwork of waves with intentionality--a sea of consciousness.
The bottom line is that reality is not at all like what we have been conditioned to believe up until now. Our concepts are much too narrow, too rigid, too mechanistic, and too confining. Now chaos theory and fractal geometry are pushing the boundaries even further, suggesting a reality that includes the precious component of subjective human experience in the laws of science.
Physics has traditionally led the way for the other sciences. Chaos theory is beginning to permeate astronomy, biology, sociology, meteorology, and so many more fields. Researchers and clinicians are exploring and slowly transforming these sciences to the new base, creating new practices and possibilities beyond evenour wildest imaginings. The phenomena of healing and parapsychology are some of the heretofore unrecognized markers of chaotic consciousness. THE STUDY OF CONSCIOUSNESS IS A GATEWAY FOR EXPLORING THIS NEW SCIENCE.
A NEW PARADIGM
Profound healing calls for dealing with the whole of the human condition including the body, mind, and spirit totality. These three elements converge deep within our consciousness at a level beyond our normal awareness. Whole-healing is most effectively accomplished at this level.
PROFOUND HEALING INVOLVES AN INNER JOURNEY DEEP INTO CONSCIOUSNESS TO THIS CORE OF BEING. This state of consciousness can be subjectively experienced in the form of a multi-sensory image, In leading clients on these healing quests, we have observed that this state of consciousness is directly connected to the state that can only be described as PURE CREATIVE ENERGY, or the core of our creative essence and spirit.
HEALING THE TOTAL ORGANISM INVOLVES YIELDING THE DISEASED FORM OR IMAGE TO THIS 'CREATIVE STATE' AND SUBSEQUENTLY EMERGING FROM IT WITH A NEW, MORE HARMONIOUS AND BALANCED FORM. The outer structure of the body and personality soon begin to restructure, to reflect the new form. In other words, HEALING IS AN ACT OF CREATION.
FROM THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE OF THIS STATE, AND FROM OUR PERSONAL JOURNEYS, IT IS A STATE OF FORMLESS CHAOS.
This description of the healing process bears a remarkable resemblance to those put forth in chaos theory to describe complex dynamic phenomena. The resemblance does not end there. Explorations of this healing process and chaos theory's descriptions of natural processes show an uncanny convergence in all respects.
There are many paths or ways to reach this profoundly healing creative state of consciousness. The shaman/therapist model is one and represents a gestalt, combining the powerful consciousness-altering rituals, worldviews, and visionary experiences of the shamans with the techniques, theories, and practices of depth psychologies.
Shamans have existed throughout human history as experts in magic, mysticism, healing and consciousness journeys into altered states. Psychology, based in science, knows how to manipulate and work within the ego. This combination, this gestalt of mysticism and science creates a new dimension in worldview and practice. It transcends the duality of mystical vs. scientific and provides a perspective unavailable to either one alone, one much more than the simple sum of the two.
We offer the analogy of binocular, as opposed to monocular, vision. If you close either eye, you get a relatively complete picture of what you are looking at, though it lacks depth. It may be slightly displaced depending on which eye you use, and will shift back and forth as you shift eyes. But no matter how fast you shift, if you are only using one eye, it is a two dimensional view of reality. However, when both eyes are open, the perspective centers, and a new dimension of depth is perceived.
Thus, the shaman/therapist model is not just a simple mixing, or borrowing of techniques from one to the other, but instead calls for a quantum shift in worldview, one that moves beyond either alone. Armed with this, we can undertake the creation of a profound healing, through and beyond the ego to this profound and creative state of consciousness that provides our form and the core of our being. Here, we create our healing from within. We experience first-hand that personal power (empowerment) arises from within.
What's New with My Subject?
A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF DREAMS
Dreams bridge the gap between the mystic and the scientific worldviews. MOST WOULD AGREE THAT DREAMS ARE A TRULY CHAOTIC PHENOMENON. An object of scientific study and a healing tool of the psychotherapist, they are firmly entrenched in the scientific worldview, albeit on the fringe. On the other side, most religions teach that God, or the nature of God, is revealed through dreams and visionary experience. THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF EPIPHANY OR APPEARANCE OF THE GOD. In fact, most religions report that it is in this way that God communicates with us.
High roads to the unconscious, connections to God and the soul, DREAMS ARISE FROM OUR CREATIVITY. Each dream symbol is an expression of our creative energy, shaped by its journey through our psyche. But no matter what its shape, the root of each symbol and THE HEART OF EACH DREAM IS PURE CREATIVE ENERGY.
The symbol is nothing more than a doorway opening into a chain of consciousness states that lead us to this creator--creative energy that can heal us. Thus, DREAMHEALING IS NOT AN INTERPRETIVE OR ANALYTICAL WAY OF UNDERSTANDING A DREAM, BUT IS AN INNER CONSCIOUSNESS JOURNEY INTO ITS HEALING HEART.
In both these models the therapist is not an objective, outside observer-manipulator of the process. Instead, the therapist is a full participant in the journey, a guide who enters into consciousness states and subjectively participates in it as s/he leads the pilgrim to the healer within.
The beauty of this approach is that it empowers. There is no doubt that the healer power is always within the patient, unlike the medical model in which the healing is seen to be rendered to the patient by the surgeon, the therapist, the drug, or the new age approach (where again the healer is from the outside--a shaman, a crystal, a ritual, or the act of a god or spirit acting through a channel). The healer is found to be within, and that direct experience is empowering.
We call this healing method by the acronym "SECURE THERAPY." It is a therapy based in creativity, imagination, and intuition. The letters of the word 'secure' reflect the main results of the therapy itself:
S - Self Esteem
E - Empowerment
C - Consciousness-expansion
U - Unification
R - Re-creating
E - Experiential restructuring
These are all keywords in this system which will be amplified and reiterated throughout the dreamhealing papers.
A TAOIST PHILOSOPHY OF TREATMENT
Through the course of developing this system of dreamhealing, certain themes have continued to be of interest. Among them are nature, creativity, holism, existentialism, intuition, relativity, perception, letting go and emptiness. The same themes hold importance in shamanism, Gestalt psychology and Maslow's personality theory. Over time Graywolf noticed that, in retrospect, when he added all his instinctual attitudes, intuitive understanding, mental knowledge, and philosophical speculation together, that the mix comes out fairly close to Taoism.
It just happened that Graywolf's style came to reflect these principles as a sort-of philosophy of treatment. In other words, this healing model is not derivative, nor contrived around these principles. It has just evolved over time into a certain resonance with Taoism.
Taoism places emphasis on flow, drawing primarily on the metaphor of water's natural behavior. This certainly resonated with Graywolf's personal dedication to the waters of the planet (also, he is a Cancer). His commitment to the planet, and the bliss and serenity he has found river rafting in wilderness areas has given him a profound experiential and observational insight into this philosophy.
The Tao, itself, revealed graphically in the YIN/YANG symbol, escapes any attempt at definition. In fact, "the Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao; the name that can be defined is not the unchanging name." The Tao is the divine way of the universe, a path of least resistance, the essence of all life.
In Taoism, divinity is both transcendent and immanent, without and within. In this philosophy, the yin forces are exalted, and the creative force is called the mother of all things. It can only be known through mystical insight. It refers to the way we should order our lives to flow with the way the universe operates.
The typical themes and premises of Taoism share much in common with shamanism, Gestalt therapy, Maslow's concepts of self actualization and peak experience, and modern chaos theory. They hold in common the principle of harmonization with nature. They manifest as existential philosophy, nature mystic experiences, and process-oriented therapy. The principle of "flow as health" is fundamental to both Gestalt and Maslow's psychology. The concept of "universe as bountiful parent" is somewhat reflected in the Higher Power model and re-parenting.
Contrary to the schismatic, out-dated Western view, nature, man, and God are not separate. Nature obeys the law of effortlessness, and we can too when we tune in with our deeper essence. Taoist thought has the principle of WU WEI, which is that through inaction and passivity (yin forces), true results are obtained. IT IS A PHILOSOPHY OF BEING, NOT DOING.
The aim of the wise one is ethical living (integrity), in harmony with the Tao, by living in accord with nature. And nature unfolds or creates through the dynamics of chaos and flow. It is a way of living which minimizes stress, strain, and striving.
We can learn directly, experientially from nature. Not just by observing her, but by immersing ourselves in her, becoming one with Her again. This is one reason Graywolf prefers to conduct sessions on the river, an experience we call "whitewater and dreams." The river teaches us about the nature of flow, and has a spontaneous healing influence. Just being on the river with the intent of inner transformation brings about many changes in clients which would be much more difficult in a sterile office setting.
Nature provides many natural metaphors which parallel, evoke, and mirror human transformation. Taoism reveres the virtues of water first and foremost as exemplifying the Tao, itself. Parallels with process-oriented psychology are easy to find in Taoist literature.
The natural phenomena which the Taoists saw as bearing the closest resemblance to Tao itself was water. They were struck by the way it would support objects and carry them effortlessly on its tide. The Chinese character for swimmer, deciphered, means literally "one who knows the nature ofwater." Similarly one who knows the nature of the basic life-force knows that it will sustain him if he will only stop his thrashing and flailing and trust it to buoy him and carry him gently forward.
...Water, then, was the closest parallel to Tao in the natural world. But it was also the prototype of WU WEI.
...Yet despite its accommodation, water holds a power unknown to hard and brittle things. In a stream it follows the stones' sharp edges only to turn them in the end into pebbles, rounded to conform to its streamlined flow. It works its way past frontiers and under dividing walls. Its gentle current melts rock and carries away the proud hills we call eternal.
...Infinitely supple yet incomparably strong--these virtues of water are precisely those of WU WEI as well. The man who embodies this condition, says the TAO TE CHING, works without working." he acts without strain, persuade without argument, is eloquent without flourish, and makes his point without violence, coercion, or pressure. Though as an individual he may be scarcely noticed, his influence is in fact decisive.
...A final characteristic of water that makes it an appropriate analogue to WU WEI is the clarity it attains through being still. "Muddy water let stand," says the TAO TE CHING, "will clear." ...Clarity can come to the inner eye, however, only in so far as man's life attains a quiet equaling that of a deep and silent pool.
In Taoism, nature is befriended. Taoism seeks to be in tune with nature. Joseph Campbell was fond of quoting D.T. Suzuki on western religion. To paraphrase, it went something like "God against man, man against God, man against nature, nature against God...hmmm...strange religion!" The division of spirituality from instinctuality is fundamental in conventional western religion (though not in paganism). It is the source of much psychological distress. Taoism's approach is basically ecological, an organic philosophy of nature.
Taoist philosophy just turns out to closely resemble the view modern science has been forced to adopt after three centuries of mechanical materialism. Taoist naturalism combines with an inclination for naturalness to emerge as simple living in touch with nature, nature without and within. Extravagance, honors, prestige, and consumption are of little importance in this philosophy.
THE ESSENTIAL THING IS AN EXISTENTIAL RAPPORT WITH THE TAO. The Taoist is concerned with a sort of immediate, inner, intuitive enlightenment. Fundamental to this is the relativity of all values and perceptions, rather than polarized opposites which can never meet. The Tao symbol graphically depicts the paradoxical union of opposites, as discrete yet conjoined, as yin and yang. They express the nature of continuous transformation within the Tao.
Taoism shuns all clear-cut dichotomies for a paradoxical union of opposites. The great Mystery transcends polarity. No perspective in this relative world can be considered as absolute. Polarity sums up all life's basic oppositions: good-evil, active-passive, positive-negative, light-dark, summer-winter, male-female, etc. But though its principles are in tension they are not flatly opposed. They complement and counterbalance each other.
Taoism follows its principle of relativity to its logical limit, regarding life and death themselves as relative phases of the Tao's embracing continuum. This bears on our attitude towards our own mortality, and our ability to feel and express grief. We have all known those who have gone through life as the "living dead," just going through the motions of life, with little or no connection to their bodies or the greater whole.
Also, our attitudes when confronted with catastrophic illness reflect our philosophy of life. The motto for the terminally ill has become the question, "Will you live your dying, or die your living." Living each day anew, as a unique experience, means living with a "beginner's mind."
Taoism is a way of PERCEIVING with a blank mind, which therefore knows nothing of limitation. There is a story of Chuang Tzu, the foremost popularizer of philosophical Taoism. (He is the one who dreamed he was a butterfly dreaming he was a man...) While strolling on a bridge with Hui Tzu, the Confusianist, he observed:
"Look how the minnows dart hither and thither at will. Such is the pleasure fish enjoy."
"You are not a fish," responded Hui Tzu. "How do you know what gives pleasure to fish?"
"You are not I," said Chuang Tzu. "How do you know I do not know what gives pleasure to fish?"
The nature of perception was also revealed experientially in esoteric Taoism. This phase arose as the Chinese mind was first discovering its inward dimension and was captivated by it. This still happens on the individual level when we come in contact with our process. It is fascinating and captures our attention and creative interest. We become intrigued with our inner drama, the flow of the stream of consciousness.
Esoteric Taoists believe that successive deposits of toil and worry had so silted up the soul that it was necessary to work back through their layers until "man as he was meant to be" was reached. Pure consciousness would then be struck; at last, the individual would see not merely "things perceived" but "that by which we perceive."
The Tao is ineffable and transcendent, yet also immanent. It is eternal and immediate. It is an infinitely generous fountain, flowing, driving all of nature as the ordering principle behind all life. It is the way of the universe, of ultimate reality. It can be approached through magic, mystical experience, philosophical rapport, and the intuitive existential openness. It manifests as "creative quietude," paradoxically combining supreme activity and relaxation.
Every artist has discovered that genuine creation comes from the release of the infinite resources of the deep self. It requires a certain dissociation from the surface self, and most artists have rituals for creating. The unconscious mind must relax, let go, and creativity flows spontaneously. When the artform is therapy, the creative result is healing. Personal ego and conscious efforts yield to a power not their own. Then behavior flows spontaneously; ACTION FOLLOWS BEING. Lao Tze said, "The way to do is be."
Another key element in Taoism is the VOID, or empty space, or emptiness. Taoist skill is seldom noticed, for viewed externally WU WEI--never forcing, never under strain--seems quite without effort. The secret here lies in the way it seeks out the empty spaces in life and nature and moves through these, like water. Tao, as the inexpressible source of being, is spoken of in some sense as non-existence. It is the power of passivity. The Taoist mystic chose to empty his mind, gaining inner perception of the Tao, attaining a oneness with the Eternal.
This emptying, non-attachment, or non-involvement was echoed later in humanistic psychology and Gestalt therapy. Like Zen philosophy, Taoism encourages us to grasp the moment before it flies and use it to enter the great Emptiness, that Void from which all the ten thousand things have sprung, and to which they still, and forever, belong. Fritz Perls considered the person who had no fixed character to be the most flexible and adaptable.
Dr. Suzuki refers to the everyday mind as the Tao. By that he says he means the unconscious, which works all the time in consciousness. He makes a distinction between the "purely instinctive unconscious" as found in children and animals and that of a mature, "trained unconscious."
By this later term he implied the kind of awareness proper to a really mature human being in which the unconscious experiences gone through since infancy are included as constituting a part of the whole being. He spoke of the proper use and understanding of the unconscious as "the fountainhead of all creative possibility," and without denying the importance of the mind, he uttered some warnings against the modern tendency to disconnect the brain from the larger field of man's total humanness.
Elsewhere Dr. Suzuki has said, "The function of human consciousness, as I see it is to dive deeper and deeper into its source, the unconscious. And the unconscious has its strata of variable depths; biological, psychological, and metaphysical. One thread runs through them, and Zen discipline consists in taking hold of it in its entirety."
THE TAO IS UNFATHOMABLE, INEXHAUSTIBLY DEEP, AND UNFATHOMABLE.
So many modern scientific and psychological principles are contained in this simple philosophy. It anticipated Einstein's concept that "all is relative." It echoes the ecological philosophy of shamanism and the modern green movement. It speaks directly to the "here and now" perspective of existential philosophy, Gestalt therapy, and humanistic psychology. The pleasure in the simple is a criteria for Maslow's self-actualizers. One of Jung's major themes was the paradoxical union of opposites, and their synthesis in a grander, harmonizing symbol.
Taoism is one of the root philosophies of world-wide culture which shows the importance of the intuitive, creative, and reverie states--of letting go to experience our primal being as emptiness or the Void. This consciousness is part of the return of the lost Feminine to western culture. It is Her voice that has been missing for so long, drown out by patriarchal culture. Our culture is now becoming one big, chaotic mix.