Power of Caring - The Alchemy of Healing
against our deepest conscience or inner self can make us physically
ill, which for many means then have to come to terms with moral,
ethical and spiritual demands upon the way they live so they can
heal psychically no less than physically.
find that in the depths of our being the quest for meaning at
times overrules even the urge for survival. Death may be recognised
as the bearer of health and renewal as in the case of one of my
patients Kevin who at the age of 31 created a vehicle to achieve
all that he had dreamt of and on completion died from cancer a
few months later.
problems and difficulties meet us not only because of 'wrong'
attitudes but also in order to move us forward. The emergence
of ever-new field patterns of energy with their conflict and illness
potentials is an essential element of human existence, a precondition
for maturation and growth. Life is not just a battle for survival
but a dramatic process of creation, a summons to embody and exhibit
ever-new forms of plays for their own sake, in motion towards
a great refinement and differentiation.
messages we receive from contemporary dreams also point the direction,
those that occur close to the death of the dreamer (c.f Maria
Louisa von Franz).
woman patient about to die of cancer dreamed during her last night
of an evening where
she was to shortly present herself at a fashion show and that
is was important she did not spoil the occasion with nervousness.
Clothes refer to what we call 'persona' namely our adaptation
to the here and now existence. Thus, she is told in her dream
that she is expected to bring along and 'show', indeed exhibit,
in the other world the adaptation she acquired in her lifetime,
to be seen by others after her death. Implicitly, she is advised
not to be 'nervous' about the transition, as through the fact
of death for her there is nothing to be worried about.
the person the difficult and often painful 'nearly too difficult'
assignment of becoming what ones potential 'is' includes alternating
phases of physical or mental illness and healing, of experiencing
guilt and redemption, egotism and sacrifice, and thereby integrating
ones separatists or destructive drives into the 'formal order
of life'. By virtue of including this substance body of the earth
in the human transformation process of labouring through pain
and illness for the sake of growth and expanding awareness humankind
may indeed, as alchemy saw it, offer spiritual transformation
beyond the level of material substance.
the great malady of the 21st century is 'loss of soul' and when
the soul is neglected, it doesn't just go away: it appears symptomatically
in obsessions, addictions, violence and loss of meaning. Our temptation
is to isolate these symptoms or try to eradicate them one by one;
but the root problem is that we have lost our wisdom about the
soul, even our interest in it.
is where the priests would have ministered to such a malady but
there is no power for
the priest in everyday life for they are only consulted to marry
and bury us and not to be assisting us in our everyday life. For
many people they have few specialists of the soul to advise them
when we have lost meaning or when as a nation we find ourselves
confronting a host of threatening evils. But within our history
we do have remarkable sources of insight from people who wrote
explicitly about the nature and needs of the soul and it is here
we can look to restoring this wisdom.
psychology creates a clear tone of salvation in the sense that
if you learn to be
assertive, loving, angry and expressive your troubles will be
over - what a bland existence we would have and no grist for our
development. How about a philosophy of soulful living and techniques
for dealing with everyday problems without striving for perfection
spiritual life of some kind is absolutely necessary for psychological
health, at the same time, excessive or ungrounded spirituality
can also be dangerous, leading to all kinds of unwanted behaviour
and confusion. What we are aiming for then is the interplay of
spirituality and soul. All of my thinking leads to care of the
soul where the soul lies between understanding and unconsciousness
and its instrument is neither in the mind or the body but imagination.
To work fully we need to bring imagination into our lives in areas
which are devoid of such imagination and we know where they are
because symptoms or behaviours and feelings will lead us right
to isolating such areas. Fulfilling
work, rewarding relationships, personal power and relief from
symptoms are all promptings of the soul.
mind tends to go off on its own so that it seems to have no relevance
to the physical
world. At the same time, the materialist life can be so absorbing
that we get caught up in it and forget about spirituality. What
we need is the soul in the middle holding together mind and body,
ideas and life, spirituality and the world. In my work my aim
has always been about renewing a connection and bringing the soul
back into our lives. We can be curators of our souls, an idea
that implies an inner priesthood and personal religion. To undertake
the restoration of soul means we have to make spirituality a more
serious part of our everyday life. Such ideas are not about curing,
fixing, changing, adjusting or making healthy for it is not about
the idea of perfection or even improvement because
psychology is a science while care of the soul is for me a scared
I have used terms at times from Christianity what I put forward
is not specifically Christian, nor is it tied to any particular
religious tradition. It does however imply a religious form of
sensibility and recognition of our inner souls needs as we progress
through the potenital richness of life.
soulful personality is complicated, multifaceted and shaped by
both pain and pleasure,
success and failure. Life lived soulfully is not without its moments
of darkness and periods of foolishness. Dropping the savational
fantasy frees us up to the possibility of self-knowledge and self-acceptance,
which are the very foundation of the soul.
individuation - the process of restructuring our life so far from
the basics of our experience or the 'norm' by discovering what
we 'are' by means of living through crisis and crisis resolutions
- involves a process of conscious differentiation that is not
limited to our personal psyche but to us as a part of greater
from 'The Power of Caring The Alchemy of Healing' by Steven Warren
© Steven Warren. All rights reserved. 2009
the Video Recording