Sacrilegious Clarity

Something that feels provocative and somewhat un-allowed became clear during and reflecting on, what was for me an enjoyable, contactful and liberating, conference.

This is about how the ‘relational version’ of Gestalt has become the accepted doctrine and in doing so is ‘drowning out’ the ‘individualistic version’.

As I understand it, the limitation of the individualistic perspective is that people hide their emotional insecurity behind self-sufficiency and then projected the unacceptable insecurity onto the other in the form of blame of some form or other. So, attending to the relationship and the “field” is wonderful in opening up and sharing of that insecurity, it makes the “ground” safer, more open and inclusive.

What I see now though is the tendency to hide behind this place where everything is “relational” and “of the field” with an avoidance of facing insecurity. “It’s not just me, it’s co-created”, can form an escape from taking responsibility for our own insecurity.

There is a huge difference between blame and responsibility. Blame is always a projection of badness, self-responsibility is an essential and profound and always ongoing aspect of our journey.

And this is the point that I see as getting lost, from the individualistic perspective our journey is about reconciling and finding our freedom from insecurity, with all the spiritual dimensions implicit in that.

This is not to deny in any way the validity of the relational perspective with its journey of moving towards meeting, towards “I-Thou”, towards “I am you and you are me” with its own implicit spiritual dimensions. As well as of course our need to expand our awareness of the all the contexts we are a part of.

Our defences around facing our insecurity are insidious and powerful, inveigling us to use whatever philosophical cover we can find to support our avoidance. This is a plea for both the individualistic and relational aspects of our world to be encompassed and validated in their own right, “both, not either or” (as per Ken Wilber’s “quadrants”). Both are needed for our journey of ever more deeply opening our hearts and meeting the other.

Jim Robinson