Early in my practice I discovered James Hillman”s book called Re-visioning psychology. I thought it was visionary.
In Re-Visioning Psychology, Hillman focused on the realm of images rather than cognitions. He focused on psyche and soul, and how we create meaning, rather than what the meaning was. Within this is the idea that by re-working images, giving them attention and shaping and forming them, the soul seeks to set out meaning and being.
Meaning is part and parcel to the image and soul or psyche is directing the force of one’s life – to the degree one allows that process to take place. Indeed the act of being drawn to and looking deeper at the images presented creates meaning.
This was similar to Gestalt figure/ground but it incorporated a decidedly spiritual component that I was drawn to and it provided me with deep meaning. His archetypal psychology really spoke to me and my psyche, and it pulled me forward to develop an integration of these two theories in my own personal and professional work.
In Dream and the Underworld, Hillman suggests that dreams show us as we are; diverse, dynamic, taking very different roles, experiencing fragments of meaning that are present on the tip of consciousness.
He saw dreams as placing us inside images, rather than images inside us. This shifted the perspective of figure and ground. The similarities and touch points between this and Gestalt therapy moved me forward toward a spiritual enlightenment and peacefulness that allowed me to fully accept and develop what I saw as a missing element in therapeutic work.
From my perspective, Hillman was re-visioning the structure and paradigm, the lens through which psychology was seen. So powerful. Shifting the focus of how and under what conditions various aspects of psychology develops shifts how these outcomes and we ourselves are viewed.
His work brought the psyche and the soul back to the center of the field. And this re-visioning brings us back into the center of our actions, our knowing – for me connecting the psyche and responsibility.
His later work brought the soul into the center in such a way as to infer that it is the soul that guides us – not an interplay of nature and nurture that had long been discussed – this placed the work squarely in the field of the divine.
For me, work in the therapeutic realm is as much the divine as it is divination; and watching how things unfold in the therapeutic realm does bring out the idea that there is a path that each person follows – something internal guiding one forward.
I believe that early in development one covers over and denies aspects of one self/soul in order to align with the expectations of those important to her. If after living and developing, she is able to re-align with herself than she is able to allow the blossoming and guidance of the soul or psyche.
I am again in the process of re-visioning my own life – my goals, beliefs, and foci.
Recent loss and change have shown me images and elucidated meaning that is separate, intricate, and diverse.
It is extraordinary to me what elements of who I am that I thought and felt were an integral part of me are actually fabrics that are not integral to who I truly am at all but rather weavings that I have woven around me in an attempt to feel more accepted, less ostracized, safe, in some way cocooned.
As I allow the re-visioning process to proceed, I find I am removing these weavings and viewing them from a shifted paradigm figure/ground perspective. I notice that although they are lovely and woven quite beautifully they are aspects of myself that need to be gently removed and placed into a loving chest to be held in memory but no longer worn.
The casing needs to be removed so that I may transform more fully into my true self.
There is a sweet melancholy to this task. I notice that I am not rushing to let go, but am steadily allowing each layer to be removed and set aside to view the fullness of who I am at my core.
Sounds like the divine at work.
Re-visioning is a way of shifting the lens and thus allowing the light to perceptively change that which is seen.
Reminds me of that great saying what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly by Richard Bach in his book Illusions.
See what changing the light shifts in you and allows for a re-visioning of your internal or external structure. Shedding old habits, old skins and showing off your new form is quite en-lighten-ing.
See you tomorrow.