Invisibility vs. transparency

1126222_fresh Emerging from my recent musings about invisibility, it occurred to me that there is an important distinction between invisibility and transparency. While the invisible object cannot be seen, the transparent object can be clearly discerned, even as it is looked through. Glass is transparent, as is water. Air is invisible. You can walk through one, but not the other, not without noticing anyway.

Sheldon Kopp, psychotherapist and author of that strange and profound book, If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him! (see also), writes that the best way for a therapist to help a patient is not to tell the patient how to be but for the therapist to learn to be transparent, to the patient and to himself, in order for the relation to do its transformative work:

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Knots landing

During my gestalt weekend, it was put to the group that one of the premises of gestalt therapy is that human beings have an innate will to completion. That is, when faced with an incomplete pattern, or ‘unfinished business’, the subject has an inherent desire to close the circuit. While anxiety may be alleviated by putting some of these unfinished business to bed, anxiety may equally arise if undue stress is placed upon completing patterns for which no completion is forthcoming. For instance, missing out on the opportunity to ‘put things right’ with a parent before s/he dies.

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Parts and pieces

I rather enjoyed doing the little mini-review the last time, that I thought I’d do another, and later on, one on occasion. Even the simple act of summarising and describing the content in the book helps me to internalise some of its ideas and integrate them a bit better in my mind. So here’s a write up on a book I first read a long time ago, and several times after that, and one which I credit for setting me off on this path with greater certitude.

Mark Epstein’s Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart sort of fell into my lap and pulled me out of some fairly dark times about eight years ago, and recently, I had the chance to pass it on to someone else after reading it for the third or fourth time.

It is a book pondering the limits of modern psychotherapy rather than about Buddhism but I like Epstein’s interweaving of Buddhist perspectives with modern psychotherapeutic practices in an attempt to show how psychotherapy might be more effective if the ego-self were actually allowed to go to pieces, instead of being continually shored up by self-affirmative thoughts, actions or attitudes.

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