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Friday, July 9, 2010

The Wounded Healer – CREDO CXV


I woke up in the middle of last night realizing I had made public the name of my dear, now departed friend Brewster in my last Credo, leaving him all those years ago in Dadaji’s corridor. I had named him only to honor him with the gratitude I have never ceased to feel. So now I want to follow up with what happened to him.

Briefly summarized, in time, he met and married a most lovely woman, Sandra, who had analyzed with Dr, Edinger. Their courtship flourished close by to me, and in the end, he was restored to a finer, deeper, and wiser man. He became a much loved and respected rector of a church, not far from the Berkshires, in neighboring New York State. He continued helping others with Jungian therapy, founded an organization that sponsored lectures and workshops, and grew into the wonderful person he was meant to be, aided actively by the warmth and intelligence of his wife Sandra.

The point that I am trying to make is one that both Jung and Edinger have written about: that to become a complete person, we need experience, and only then can we be of help and service to others, because it takes one to know one. Sometimes it is called “the Night Sea Journey.” It was the underlying premise of Bill, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, who was influenced by Jung. It is the biblical motif of Job in the Old Testament, about which Jung wrote so eloquently, and again the ultimate myth of Chiron in Greek mythology.

I am certain that many of you who read these Credos are familiar with the stages of suffering every one of us has to go through, and I share this notion to help anyone still in the process. The best counselor is the one who has walked the talk. Suffered and not succumbed or lost faith! And sometimes the pain is excruciating! I know this for a fact.

No one can help others truly by reading a textbook about how to become a psychologist. Or just passing tests on statistics. Wisdom involves becoming truly human and ultimately finding refuge and comfort in the discovery of the spiritual dimension of true healing, namely Love.

The Jewish philosopher defined it in a nutshell: Is the relationship “I-it or I-thou”? Jung stressed the importance of the latter and likened true therapy to the odd alchemical model of the lovers enclosed in a vessel or bottle! If the coniunctio is kept safe in the vessel, it is a sacred encounter, but the minute the vessel is broken it falls down into the duality of everyday life and the results are all too familiar!

When I was young and eager, I studied and read and read, and I remember my chagrin when my Teacher M shook his head and said I would not find what I was looking for by just reading, I realized that unconsciously what I termed the pook! was missing – in other words , the aha! that comes from the Divine Guest.

The proof of this surely lies with the wisdom of native “illiterate” people all over the world who are spiritually far more advanced than we are! They are the ones who learn from the greatest teacher of all – Mother Nature, Dame Kinde, Hagia Sophia.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate the model that Brewster provides us and the important role of the strong loving presence of the feminine that Sandra played and still does.

In my generation, it was an enormous matter to have a man be interested in one’s soul! So the projection onto the therapist was often a given and hard for a man not to be charmed by, thus falling into inflation and the breaking of the vessel. Ultimately, the best healing comes from the other simply holding up a mirror, which reminds me of my own mother, who, when I was having a tantrum as a two-year old, would drag me screaming in front of a long mirror and force me to watch myself! I usually, as I remember, ended up giggling.

So here’s to the Wounded Healers of the world and a salute of gratitude to my dear friend and psychopomp Brewster!

lovingly,
ao

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