Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Had No Idea

Scott Bradley


I had no idea that Fritz Perls, founder of Gestalt Therapy, was a Daoist sage. At least that's my opinion after reading 24 pages of his Gestalt Therapy Verbatim. If he was not a sage, then at least his understanding of the sometimes pathological workings of the human psyche and its remedy seems as if lifted from Daoist principles. Wu-wei, existential presence, spontaneity, harmony, guiltlessness, flow — it's all there.

I have just begun this book and only mention it now because it has already influenced the Zhouzi stories and want to acknowledge that debt.

In this context, it might be worth considering how ‘spirituality’ is actually an attribute of psychology, and that, lest we forget, is an attribute of physicality. We are not a bunch of parts, but an integral whole. Philosophical Daoism, at least as I see it, is not about discovering something ‘spiritual’ dwelling either inside or outside our experience, but rather about experiencing ourselves in a transcendent way that suggests the ‘spiritual’.

Since space allows, here's Perls on the remedial power of self-awareness:
If you become aware each time you are entering a state of confusion, this is a therapeutic thing. And again, nature takes over. If you understand this, and stay with confusion, confusion will sort itself out by itself. If you try to sort it out, compute how to do it, if you ask me for a prescription how to do it, you only add more confusion to your productions.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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