The Magic of Psychosynthesis

The outer reflects the inner. In today’s world we see much conflict and uncompromising opposing viewpoints. To progress forward we actually need to achieve some synthesis of these opposing viewpoints, rather than seeking to ‘win’ with our own, which is just the one we have chosen to identify with, ignoring the good points from the ‘other side’. So the conflict is as much within ourselves as ‘out there’.

Psychosynthesis seeks to understand ourselves and in doing so come to an accommodation or synthesis between the conflicting elements within, both conscious and unconscious. So a more whole ‘self’ is necessary to help to heal the conflicts out in the world. The outer does indeed reflect the inner.

So I commend to you this review of what sounds like an exciting new book on psychosynthesis.

Eyes in the back of my Head

We are living in troubled, unsettling times, not just here in the UK where I sit and write, but in many countries around the world. Brexit, now exposed for what it really is, has morphed into an unpleasant can of worms and the effects reverberate not only in the UK, but in other countries in the European Union which are involved in this mess. France is having prolonged demonstrations with the gilet jaunes, and in Catalonia, the people are demonstrating against the lengthy prison sentences given to the leaders of their bid for independence. We are connected in our European angst, but unrest is global. Hong Kong and Chile have political protests, Libya too; the Extinction Rebellion movement and the Friday school strikes for action on the environment have spread around the world. Change is prevalent.

As an astrologer and practitioner in astrological psychology, I can turn to…

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Inner stories

Wyatt Robinson expresses important truths very simply on his blog. His recent post, Victimised, is about the stories we tell ourselves, and the effect that has on our lives.

You have to experience the world as someone, not anyone or no one. As such, in the story that is you, you have no choice but to assume the role of the central character and populate your story with the characters around you. Interestingly, that narrative tends to be a story who’s genesis is in childhood with our original cast of characters setting the mold for all characters to come. These original characters establish a set of expectations and those expectations become a self fulfilling prophecies which lead us to recreate our story over and over again. These expectations lead us to make assumptions about people’s motives and intentions which we twist into to fit our narrative. Of course, we have to maintain protagonist status…we have to keep living with ourselves…thus blame is typically aimed outward…plus the narrative has to survive.

Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli invented the concept of the subpersonality which links very well with Wyatt’s storytelling narrative. At different times we may be any of a number of sub-personalities, which were mostly established in childhood as a reaction to surrounding circumstances, and of which are not initially aware. Each subpersonality corresponds to a story we have told ourselves about the world, maybe subconsciously. Assagioli’s psychological approach of psychosynthesis encourages the uncovering and integration of these subpersonalities, and thus the development of a more whole person.

The Swiss astrologer/psychologist Bruno Huber (with his wife Louise) took this a step further, by applying the best of the ancient practice of astrology to help in this process – an integrated method he called astrological psychology. Astrological psychology practitioners use the birth chart to help uncover unconscious influences on themselves or a client, and particularly in a time-related way. This is particularly effective in helping to uncover key influences during childhood, including specifically relationships between the child and those around them in father- and mother- roles (the ‘Family Model’). Once in conscious awareness, we have the chance to do something about it, and move beyond earlier blockages and coping strategies such as blaming. We can change our stories.

Wyatt ends his post with the following, which explains his title:

There are bad characters out there, but for the most part, most of us are not that. We might all be deeply flawed, but we are rarely sadistic, and in the end we all tend to walk away feeling the victim. I suppose we all are correct, we’re victims of ourselves. Victims of our stories.

Here I diverge from Wyatt’s post. No, we do not need to be victims. The story we tell is in the end up to us.

Featured image is from Wyatt’s post.

As editor/publisher of a number of books on astrological psychology and a member of the Astrological Psychology Association, I should declare an interest here.

Meetings with amazing people

meetings with amazing peopleLooking back, do you not find that some particular individual people and synchronistic events have had a special influence on your life? This is what Will Parfitt focuses on, related to his own life, in his recently published book Meetings with Amazing People – somewhat along the lines of GI Gurdjieff’s Meetings with Remarkable Men. 

I remember reading Gurdjieff’s book many years ago, at a time when I was fascinated by the life and ideas of that remarkable person and his associate and sometime collaborator PD Ouspensky. That book really was a thrilling and at times hair raising read, and gave good insight into where Gurdjieff was coming from.

It would be wrong to try to measure Will Parfitt’s book against such an illustrious benchmark. Will has been for many years a leading UK exponent of psychosynthesis and qabala, so this is the context. Does it give insight into the formative influences on Will and the development of his practice?

The answer is a resounding yes. Will identifies seven key influences on his early development, in the intriguing context of a task set by a mysterious messenger, Sri Anandapuran. Each of these seven individuals had a significant and formative influence on Will’s future outlook on life.

The story in this short book is very readable and well told, to the extent that the reader can feel why each episode was of such importance. It also provides an intriguing glimpse of a life inspired by synchronous occurrences and  ‘swinging 1960s UK’.

For me, the added benefit is to inspire your own consideration of what were the significant and synchronous influences in your own life,  what was the universe really trying to tell you,  and did you listen and act upon it.

Health warning: Will’s story is imaginative and readable, and not necessarily an exact factual statement of events in his life.

This Beautiful Earth

this_beautiful_earthMy previous post on gardening was inspired by this book by Will Parfitt, who has explored personal and spiritual development for many years, particularly through psychosynthesis and kabbalah. Its subtitle is ‘Gardening as a spiritual practice ‘, so you can see the connection. [I should declare that I have known Will for many years.]

Will draws parallels between the practice of gardening and the living of daily life in a mindful and spiritual way.

“A gardener is part of the garden and the relationship between the garden and gardener is a shared practice of mindful living, of increasing consciousness.”

The introduction gives an excellent summary of what is in the book:

“This book contains many stories that have a spiritual take on gardening… adaptations from Zen koans, Sufi stories about Mullah Nasruddin,… Taoist teachings,..”

For the purpose of review I have read the full text. In practice, it is probably better used as a book to dip into and savour, allowing its messages to slowly percolate.

I recall reading the tales of Mullah Nasruddin by Idries Shah many years ago, and Will’s book has a similar quality. It is not to be read literally, but in the realm of metaphor, paradox and zen – a traditional approach to the spiritual path. If that appeals to you, do buy it!

Note that this book is not specifically about gardening as such. As Will says on the back cover,

“The gardener is a metaphor for the Self, that part of us that observes, witnesses without judgement and, through its connection to our deepest sense of conscience, helps us to make affirmative decisions in life.”

Nice one, Will!

For Will’s other books, on Psychosynthesis, Kabbalah, etc. see his website.