10.1.10

Gestalt or something like that

I have been reading about Gestalt therapy and finding it fascinating. So far I am coming to understand the I-it and the I-Thou states. The I-it if I am interpreting it correctly seems to be a solitary state: reflection, feelings, concerns about making the self understood by others. The I-Thou seems corporate but painful. It is in the relating of the I to the other, to another that the I understands themself as a distinct person with distinct ways which perhaps until then they had thought were either indistinct or universal.

I relate to how Friedman describes how through surrender to the trust in a one to one relationship there is '...the existential and ontological reality in which the self comes into being and through which it fulfills and authenticates itself' (Friedman, 1965a p.xvii).

It is strange how only in encounter with someone different do we realise that we are a distinct personality with distinct traits, we know this because the other person has different traits to us.

However, the one to one, accountable and counseling relationship also involves risk. Of course, there is usually trust and I find anyway that the idea that other people might come to know what I have said is something about which I worry little. What is more scary is the actual outpouring of all that is within. It spills somehow messily in front of me, like a liquid that I can not scoop up. When I am in spiritual direction or tutorials, after I leave, I am sometimes confronted with an image of the person who has just listened to me, in which, like some kind of macarbre cartoon, they have a flip-top head. I flip their head back and scoop back out all of the 'me-stuff' I have just spilled which they have consumed and even given me an opinion about and I take it back and stuff it back where it belongs, in me and start to guard it again protectively, until the next time.

The next time, to my relief, there is less to scoop back and more to leave with them, there is more room inside me for God, so what a relief that is.

I am meditating at the moment on Jesus' emptying of himself. I am hoping to lose something of me to make more room for more of God and looking at the kenosis is how I can come to think about some of this. Of course, it was very different for Jesus who was divine and yet also human. Jesus did not grasp at equality with God, even though he was equal to God. I understand this grasping in humanity as the place where our ego projects itself. The great thing about God is that he values us so much, we know this because of the incarnation but I know that we need to lose our lives in order for them to be saved.

It is all a long, learning process. I think that when we surrender some of our own engineering of the moment, our plans, when we let go of what we are predicting as an outcome, we are more open to the surprise that is God's direction of the moment and how much better that moment is when God reigns.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.