“Might there be levels of truth of reality that are missed by the science-orientated, common-sense consciousness we use to navigate our way through traffic jams, supermarkets and e-mails?” Jonathan Black, The Secret History of the World

“Not all meanings are meant to be clear at once. Some ideas take time. Some words are designed to lead us on inner journeys, with truth hidden deep inside them.” Brian Froud

I consider myself to be a materialist, although a very spiritually inclined materialist. And also I consider myself a rationalist with the concession that, as a human being, I must admit to non-rational dimensions to life (you ever read anything on quantum physics? That’s the land of Faery right there). Because of this, and for the sake of my “irrational” health and sanity, I have suspended disbelief to embrace another mode of thought in order to touch depths within myself not open to rational or common sense thinking. My vision of the universe has become transformed, unlocked by symbols that act as keys upon my soul. Perhaps this story is a mere tapestry of fantasy, but look carefully for the element of truth, a single thread, which can lead you back to its source, perhaps the Source.

Long ago, Heaven and Earth were one, there was no separation, no duality. But then a shadow appeared, and began a long process of separating the spiritual and the material. The many great and magical beings disappeared from the material world leaving no trace of their existence. And the many beings of Earth grew quiet and isolated from one another, unable to communicate any more, for all creatures of mineral, plant and animal were once friends and companions, forming a great company with one another and with the magical and divine beings. Yet despite this they still resonated with the rest of the cosmos, albeit faintly and unconsciously.

In only a few creatures of the Earth did the higher spiritual nature of Heaven remain, reflecting itself through spiritual vision, reason and imagination. One such creature were the humans, beings with a great capacity to understand and transform the world around them. In humanity the gods invested their Wisdom in order that when spiritual and material became divorced by the Shadow of Separation, there remained a seed of spirituality in a material world to preserve a guiding light in this despiritualised world.

Finally the Shadow of Separation grew so strong that even humanity lost contact, becoming mired in a materialistic delusion, now closed to Cosmic Inspiration and interested only in material gain. Despite this some people have worked secretly to keep the truth of our spiritual source aflame within us, protecting it from forces that look to steal or destroy it.  But this is inevitable and even necessary.

Do not think that the Shadow of Separation is not without a useful role in this for it is just an initiator of a new process necessary for the independent evolutions of Heaven and Earth. For each must grow in its own way before reuniting. That is why humans are not aware of Heaven, for we must find it for ourselves. This has been entrusted to us by Heaven; that we learn the secret teachings past down to us through the Ancients by the gods and overcoming the glamour of the material in order to spiritualise it.

Can you feel it? Come out from the material light of the City and open to the spiritual light of the Cosmos. Go to the woods where only moonlight and starlight shine, sharing their presence, if little else. They look at you and you look at them. They await you to return to them.

Can you feel it? The whole Cosmos seems to be waiting for humanity to take the long climb back up to Heaven taking the material world with it.

Can you feel it? All beings of animal, plant and mineral resonate with their connection to the Cosmos, though even they do not know it, and you were ignorant of it until now. Though unconscious of it, they too await us to fulfil our duty so that they can reawaken to the unity of Heaven and Earth.

It is in all life to reawaken to this. our very beings are made from the very stuff of the Cosmos. We are Stardust, it is in our nature, it is our destiny. Can you feel it?

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Psychosynthesis Egg of Being or egg diagram

Psychosynthesis Egg of Being or "egg diagram"

“I suggest, to begin, that Ecopsychology is best thought of as a project, in the sense of a large multifaceted undertaking. This makes room for a great number of perspectives and interests and rules out the idea that Ecopsychology will ever resemble a traditional discipline.” Andy Fisher, Radical Ecopsychology

 

 

“Nature is always trying to reestablish harmony, and within the psyche the principle of synthesis is dominant. Irreconcilable opposites do not exist. The task of therapy is to aid the individual in transforming the personality, and integrating apparent contradictions.” Roberto Assagioli, The Golden Mean of Roberto Assagioli

 

“In one of his letters Freud said, “I am interested only in the basement of the human being.” Psychosynthesis is interested in the whole building. We try to build an elevator which will allow a person access to every level of his personality. After all, a building with only a basement is very limited. We want to open up the terrace where you can sun-bathe or look at the stars. Our concern is the synthesis of all areas of the personality. That means Psychosynthesis is holistic, global and inclusive. It is not against psychoanalysis or even behavior modification but it insists that the needs for meaning, for higher values, for a spiritual life, are as real as biological or social needs.” Roberto Assagioli, The Golden Mean of Roberto Assagioli

 

“Growth is hard, regression is easy.” Ken Wilber

 

Ecopsychology is not defined by any one person, by any one discipline, by any one method. Put simply, it is a bridge between ecology and psychology and whatever comes after this is up to a psychologist’s or ecologist’s own “perspectives and interests”. The Earth Sanctuary, where I live and work, is made up of people who have experience with Psychosynthesis (among other things). It is through this, and other experiences, that we hope to approach Ecopsychology.

 

What can Psychosynthesis do for Ecopsychology? The principle of synthesis for a start. Although Psychosynthesis is perhaps not very different from some other schools of psychological thought (its inclusive nature in fact incorporates many ideas and practices into it) it tends to talk about synthesis, mainly the synthesis of the personality, where we find ourselves having to adapt our personality to suit our situations. Psychosynthesis takes the resulting “subpersonalities,” as it calls them (a similar concept in Gestalt Therapy talks of “creative adjustments”), and through recognising and integrating them they might be reconciled with the whole of the personality. One such subpersonality or creative adjustment may be the suppression of an ecological identity or ego. Many urban people are so submerged in a human environment that they have lost an ecological perspective which has usually been a natural and healthy part of human existence. If we are to live harmoniously with the planet then one psychological work is to reintegrate this wider, more-than-human, perspective as a part of us by seeing ourselves as a part of the more-than-human world.

 

One exercise in Psychosynthesis is to draw your personal life history from present to past, to get a sense of your development through your life, seeing it as a coherent process rather than just a string of random events. This same exercise may be done with how humans have appeared in the universe. In one book I have, called Thinking Like a Mountain, there are a few meditations that try to facilitate just this, guiding us through various images that link us back into the natural processes of cosmic and ecological evolution. After all, humans belong in this universe because its laws and evolution make us possible. James Lovelock also did his own synthesis on the Earth’s evolution, but more as a scientific exercise than a meditation, in The Ages of Gaia. These can help us to gain a perspective on the history of things and help us re-identify ourselves as a part of this history, synthesising our presence within the greater whole. With the current atmosphere of globalisation, human history is undergoing its own process of global synthesis, where we can look back and see the various stages we have gone through as a coherent process; from our evolution in and dispersal from Africa, and subsequent diversification, to our current reconnection across the globe. Psychosynthesis has tools to help us see that cosmic, ecological, human and personal evolutions are part of a coherent, synthesised, process.

 

In Ecopsychology there is a concept called the ecological unconscious, described as “the living record of cosmic evolution, tracing back to distant initial conditions in the history of time.” (Theodore Roszak, The Voice of the Earth). The structure of it has been determined by the nature of our universe as well as the psychological evolution of our species and beyond to the start of life. The previous ideas about identifying with ecological and cosmic evolution can help us reconnect with the ecological unconscious within us. But we have to be careful that this reconnection to the “bigger picture” doesn’t mean regressing or becoming a mere product in its unfolding. We can, instead, be a positive contributing factor in our personal lives and as a species.

The ecological unconscious is something new to Psychosynthesis, its model of the human psyche, called the Egg of Being, describes several “types” or “aspects” of the unconscious but nothing explicitly ecological. So where does the ecological unconscious fit into the Egg of Being? At first, because of its description as something related to the deep evolutionary past of life and the universe, I thought that it could be in the lowest part of the lower unconscious (1) which can represent the individual psyche’s unconscious past or the physical body. Unfortunately this is still not a very whole picture, it still leaves the middle (present/emotional-intellectual) unconscious and especially the upper (future/spiritual/transpersonal) unconscious as somehow not related to what the ecological unconscious represents. Our choice then remains to either regress when connecting with the ecological unconscious or to detach from it when pursuing “higher” evolution. In either case it fragments the psyche, “dissecting” the Egg of Being.

Since the ecological unconscious is a developing model, there is room to look at in various ways as people define it as it best works for them. The Egg of Being model is quite versatile in that it doesn’t just have to represent an individual but also can be used to look at the psychological dynamics of various things, such as human groups. We can also use the Egg to look at the ecological unconscious and give it not only a deep aspect but also a higher aspect of spiritual or transpersonal evolution. This is made possible because the nature of the universe includes this potential within it, not as something imposed on it from “out there” in some spiritual dimension separate from our universe. Therefore humans represent a part of the unfolding potential of the universe, emerging within the living Earth just as a flower might, and also within the human psyche the ecological unconscious can be seen to somehow be “omnipresent” providing it with its structure and evolutionary potential.  The whole process of the psyche is embedded in the ecological unconscious. To put it into other terms, personal and human evolution of the past, present and future, are all a part of the universe’s own evolution. Our physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual evolution are contained within the greater picture of the universe’s evolutionary processes especially that of the living Earth’s, though it is by no means diminished for being so.

Psychology shouldn’t just be about therapy and healing, it should also be about how we open up to and develop our “higher” potential. Many people have worked with this in mind when working with Ecopsychology, sometimes calling it Transpersonal Ecopsychology or Econoetics, which you can find on the internet. Psychosynthesis can be one contribution to this, facilitating every level of our evolution and integrating that into the wider ecological evolution of our planet of which we are a part.

Further refence to Econoetics can be found as a three part series, which is part of some work done between myself and the author:

EcoNoetics- Part I http://earthsanctuary.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/673/

EcoNoetics- Part II http://earthsanctuary.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/econoetics-part-ii/

EcoNoetics- Part III http://earthsanctuary.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/econoetics-part-iii/