“Beauty – especially the beauty of music – evokes a clear calm, speaks to our feelings much more deeply and effectively than the deluge of words in therapy, and reveals new ways of thinking and being.”From: Inevitable Grace, Piero Ferrucci
Good Friday 2021
Last Friday was Good Friday and traditionally I listened to one of the Passion stories as set to music by Bach. The Passion of Jesus as recorded in the Bible by various Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and passed on from generation to generation. A story about suffering and death, grief and rejection, abandonment and fear, but also about trust, hope and expectation, comfort and peace. On this Friday evening I had the choice to listen to a classic performance of one of these Passion plays or watch the modern and contemporary version of the story, ‘The Passion‘. I chose the Saint John Passion, a version from 1725, performed by the Netherlands Bach Society under the direction of the Flemish conductor René Jacobs. Because of the corona measures, this version was chosen because of the smaller occupation and shorter duration of this performance, traditionally from the church of Naarden.
Beauty as a way of inspiration
Every time I listen to one of these beautiful performances of Bach’s work I am moved and experience a kind of inner journey through my thoughts, feelings and emotions. Even my body cannot stay still and tends to move with the conductor. Everything is touched and both the text and the music resonate with experiences that are stored somewhere in my ‘system’. I am convinced that it is not only something personal but that it transcends personality and that both the story and the music have a universal and (archetypical) trans-personal character. In other words: Music with a ‘soul’.
Transpersonal Self as the core of our being
The music touches my soul. Now it will be different for each individual and not everyone will recognize themselves in this. And you don’t have to. For me, the beauty of language and music is a path that can touch and transport me to my innermost being. For another there may be other ‘paths’ that can lead to their innermost being. Roads that bring out the best in them or that set them in motion for special achievements. Roads that take us to the deepest depths and the highest heights within ourselves. Piero Ferrucci, psychosynthesis therapist, writer and trainer, has written a wonderful book about it entitled: ‘Inevitable Grace’. He thus refers to the core idea of psychosynthesis: the existence of a transpersonal Self as the Core of our being and as the source of our most beautiful and meaningful experiences, and the different ways of realizing this Core.
Of course, the way of beauty is not the only way. In his book, ‘Inevitable Grace’, Ferrucci describes successively: The way of beauty, the way of action, the way of enlightenment, the way of dance and ritual, the way of science, the way of the devotion and the way of the will. In addition to Ferrucci, there are several writers who describe these different paths that the individual human being can follow to restore the connection with his or her innermost core. To find an answer to the question that many ask themselves: Who am I and what do I want. These are the core questions with which clients often come to the practice. Questions that often unconsciously disguises and wraps themselves in problems and expresses disturbed relationships with oneself or with the other.
A different way of seeing (bi-focal vision)
As a psychosynthesis therapist I have a slightly different way of looking than many ‘regular’ therapists. As I mentioned before, psychosynthesis is based on the core idea that in addition to our personality and our personal self (I), we also have a transpersonal Self. A self with a capital S. As a psychosynthesis therapist I therefore assume that a healthy personality is a personality where the connection between the small self and the Higher Self is free. A connection with an open Heart and free Will. The complaints and disruptions with which clients report in practice are often an expression of this loss of connection with themselves. (A disrupted I / Self relationship)
As the personality relates to the ‘I’, so the soul relates to the ‘Self’Roberto Assagioli
Bigger than myself
For me my experience of last Friday while listening to the Saint Johan Passion was an experience that connected me with myself and more than that. An experience in which I felt a connection with my inner world of thoughts, feelings and emotions and also a connection that transcends my personal experiences. A connection with life itself, with both the suffering in my own experiences and the suffering of the world and humanity as a whole. It is a connection with both my personal experiences of suffering and comfort and a connection with the suffering of the world around me.
The call of the Self
It is precisely because of this that I have come to appreciate psychosynthesis so much as both a personal and professional pathway, for my own development and development as a counselor in working with clients. Clients who are all discovering their own way to answer that inner impulse that we could describe as the call of the Self.
Injuries you sustain in life can create your own ‘passion story’. I was recently working with a client who sometimes literally gets stuck in her personal ‘passion story’. If the I-strength is still insufficient to actually face the injuries, strengthening this I strength is the first step in the counseling process. In order to develop a little more capacity in the client, we can look at ‘resources’ that can strengthen this capacity. When I asked this client if she could remember a situation where she had felt strong and powerful, she replied, “When I’m on stage singing.” As she answered my question, I saw her face shine and I could see how she had connected with an experience of I-Strenght at that moment. An experience where the self with a lowercase letter and the self with a capital letter are equally one. A wonderful moment in which the way of beauty (music) brought her to a force that may not always be in progress, but is available to connect to when we allow her back into freedom and connection with life itself.
Finally, a fragment from the choir with which the Saint John Passion ends. …….. “Rest in peace and bring me also to rest” …
Ruht wohl, ihr heiligen Gebeine,
Rest in peace, you sacred limbs,
Die ich nun weiter nicht beweine,
I shall weep for you no more,
Ruht wohl und bringt auch mich zur Ruh!
rest in peace, and bring me also to rest.
Das Grab, so euch bestimmet ist
The grave that is allotted to you
Und ferner keine Not umschließt,
and contains no further suffering,
Macht mir den Himmel auf und schließt die Hölle zu.
opens heaven for me and shuts off hell.