William Ferraiolo generously gave SPT Magazine permission to share his recently published paper, Roman Buddah, with our readers. It’s a fascinating comparison between the Roman Stoic philosopher Epictetus (55-135 CE) and Buddhism. He notes that “Epictetus offered practical counsel through which the West may begin to more comfortably approach Buddhism as a system of self-governance and path to awakening. Epictetus’ collected Discourses and Enchiridion offer glimpses of a spirit which Buddhist practitioners will, I think, find strikingly kindred.”
On a typically freezing February day in Southern Maine when icicles hang like gargoyles over the windows, frozen in place, destined never to move, even a short walk from the house to my office in the renovated barn, causes a damp chilliness to seep into my bones. My body, eager to ease from the stifling, stiffening cold into the felt sense of warmth from a thousand therapy sessions, was beginning to thaw when Carmen arrived. As it turned out, Carmen’s chill was destined to be a different story.
The goal of Flow of Leadership is to make more choices available for ourselves in those situations where implicit memories bypass our conscious mind, causing us to act or respond in ways that produce havoc and disconnect. Situations where when we look back, we feel like our survival was threatened, and if we have enough objectivity we are left wondering “What the heck happened? Why did I do that?”
From an expanded sense of creativity, I suggest that all psychotherapists, whether engaged in somatic work or in traditional talk therapy, are simultaneously artists, and that all effective psychotherapy is co-creative by its very nature. The art of psychotherapy is in the precise timing and subtle choices of what gets said or how touch is delivered. From the perceptual side, psychotherapists pick up on tiny cues that allow synchronous rhythms of body, mind, heart and soul. Likewise, it is a creative act to encourage, inspire, and welcome in emergent products from the relational unconscious, such as images, symbols, metaphors, or dreams that guide, light, or unblock the path forward.
I struggle to sit still (unless I’m sitting outside in nature, but I’m talking about everyday life here). Ask me to sit and be silent? Well my mental chatter loves to make me nuts. I focus on the breath. I focus on sensation. I focus on the fact that I am not focusing, with a touch of loving kindness and compassion. I am kind to myself no doubt there; I accept that my mind loves to whirl and twirl, to take facts and create stories, to take a fleeting image or sensation and create a long-winded tale. Even here, on the page, the words keep flowing when the point has most likely already been made. I’ve read countless books (reviewed many, done the practices). I’ve attended webinars and workshops and meditation groups, all with the same frustration. Silence while sitting escapes me. I thought I was hopeless until now.
I am finding it hard to distinguish between birth and death, beginnings and endings, right now, so I looked them up in the dictionary; I go to my head and the safety of the intellect when fear is close at hand. The dictionary never fails. At birth our mothers bear us. Thinking about it, after death the earth bears us, or, at least, our remains.
When I speak of the Realised Child, I am speaking of the souls of the children here and those to come. They show us the place where they are creating their embodiment to allow their divine and unified consciousness to be lived. The Realised Child does not only belong to the mother, the father or the family, but to earth and the cosmos. He is of something bigger than we can know. His consciousness is unity.
Why, I wonder, is it so important for all of us to immerse ourselves in imagination? To understand our dreams and to see what is reflected back to us for application in the here and now? Whatever the reasons, I do know this: As insights elicited within the unconscious mind are utilized by the conscious mind, and absorbed into the body, a powerful collaboration takes place. When we immerse ourselves in the wise, creative artistry of soma and soul, we can find meaning.
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