Today, September 20, is World Psychosynthesis Day. If you know psychosynthesis then you understand why it is celebrated. If you don’t, I invite you to taste a bit of it. As a psychotherapist, life coach, author and professor of psychology, as well as a mother, grandmother, friend and seeker in life, psychosynthesis has been a key piece of my life’s work and path. I love it as a life’s practice and as a way of teaching ”conscious evolution” to those I work with.
As one of the first transpersonal psychologies, founded in the early 1900’s by Italian psychiatrist, Roberto Assagioli, it has been at the cutting edge of “positive” psychology for over a hundred years. Assagioli spent his life integrating spirituality, social consciousness and psychology into his theory of the synthesis of the psyche (thus the name of the theory, which sounds better in Italian, by the way). Hats off to him, for noting so long ago, how troubled we are as a species, and devoting himself to creating a theory and practice to help with that!
I could offer many of his quotes, but given the news, again today, of more death, war, famine, racism, and violence of every imaginable kind, I choose to offer you, first, this, from Assagioli’s writings in the 1960’s.
“Finally, all human individuals and groups of all kinds should be regarded as elements, cells or organs (that is, living parts) of a greater organism which includes the whole of mankind. Thus the principle of, and the trend to, synthesis carries us from group to group in ever wider circles to humanity as an integral whole. The essential unity of origin, of nature and of aims, and the unbreakable interdependence and solidarity between all human beings and groups are a spiritual, psychological and practical reality. It cannot be suppressed, however often it may be negated and violated through the numberless conflicts in which men, foolishly and painfully, squander their precious energies and even deprive each other of the sacred gift of life.”
Forgive his use of the reference to men and mankind, rather than more inclusive language, but he was born in the 1800’s, and raised in a culture that had not yet heard of feminism. He had, however, seen, and experienced through his own imprisonment by the fascists, (for being a pacifist!) the dangerous tendencies of human beings.
He also invited people to look at the wars within, those inner elements that push and pull at our own psyches (subpersonalities, he called them) fighting old battles, living out old wounding, triggered and triggering in ways that make inner peace so difficult and, in even more dangerous ways, as those inner battles rage into outer behaviors.
He notes “As a rule, we live life more or less as it comes. Yet the business of living is in reality an art and should be the greatest of all the arts.” Ah to be living a life of art, not war: inner or outer.
So much more to say!
Empathy? “Training in Empathy not only helps one acquire a true understanding of others, but also bestows a wider humanness. It gives an insight into the wonder and mystery of human nature.”
Love? “All human love, even in its highest transpersonal aspect can be considered as the partial expression of a universal principle of love.”
Ecology? “Altruistic love is not limited to members of the human family. It can also embrace all living things. One might say that an increasingly conscious sense of this universal brotherhood is behind the growing trend toward the cultivation of harmonious relations with the environment. This is the higher and broader aspect of ecology.”
And to invite you, at last, into the depths of psychosynthesis, I end with this quote. “There is a further degree or kind of illumination: it is the perception of the light immanent in the human soul and in the whole of creation.”
Psychosynthesis has been called a psychology of the soul, a psychology of love, a psychology of spiritual growth. Click on any of the links above and you can find out more. Google it. Amazon it. Email me at Didi@synthesiscenter.org and I’ll send you some exercises. Explore this field, if it calls to you.
And whether it does or doesn’t call you, simply think about the word and ask yourself what is next in the work of your life to help synthesis unfold within you.
May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.