If you've been following articles in my newsletters over the past nearly eight years, and if you've been reading the frequent posts on my blogs, you may have realized that much of what I write is repeated in new words. This is deliberate. In marketing it is said that if you want to sell something, you have to get the message across to the consumer at least nine times. In psychology things are not so different: to get the message across to the reader or listener, so that inner transformation has a chance at beginning to take place, the message has to be repeated over and over again.
What do our Reactions to Others Tell Us about Us?
Recently I was asked (on the same day) by two acquaintances, what I would do if a client walked in the door that I did not like, and what I would do if I were attracted to a client. My answer has a great deal to do with what I believe an ethical practitioner should do, but more importantly, has a great deal to do with what all of us can and should do when faced with our reactions to others in our lives.
Basically I was being asked whether I would refer the first client out (the one I hypothetically did not like), and whether in the second instance (the client I was hypothetically attracted to), I would want to have some type of social contact with that client, or whether I would forego that, and continue on in the professional relationship.
Physician, Know Thyself!
The underlying structure to my answer lies in the Socratic advice: Physician, know thyself. In other words, if I am practicing in my chosen field of endeavour, I must have begun the process of knowing myself and recognizing my own issues. In such a case, when faced with the client I hypothetically don’t like, I would, of course, immediately understand that the reason I feel unpleasant in the presence of that person, has nothing in particular to do with him or her, but with me.
So does that mean I can’t blame that person for how I feel?
Right on. No blaming. Even if the person is obnoxious, or difficult, or needy, or haughty, or autocratic, or whatever it might be that sets me off. What sets me off is not his/her behavior, but some unresolved issue in me. If the issue were resolved, it would not set me off. Affect (emotion) is also a clue to something that needs addressing in oneself. So that means I’m the one that has to look at me, not look outward and point a finger.
Jewels in Our Lives
So back to the hypothetical client I don’t like. Such a client could well become a jewel in my life. If I’m willing to follow the above directives. If I’m willing to look within, rather than without. So such a client immediately sets off a warning bell, and launches a red flag in me, to make me aware of the fact that the client is bringing out some as yet unresolved issue.
The example I’m using is my client and myself, but this is how it is with every single person that populates your life, from the peripheral fringes, to its nuclear core, from the newspaper vendor and shoeshine person, to your partner (see also my Sept. 2006 Newsletter: Marriage in the 21st Century Could Cutting Edge Spiritual Psychology Make it Viable Again?) and children or parents. Every time you react inside to something, you are being given a message about yourself by your psyche, and if you pay attention to those messages, if you look in the mirror of your relationship with that particular person, you will learn something about yourself, and eventually resolve that issue in order to not have to revisit that place again, in such a way that similar situations in future, will not affect you negatively as they used to do. (See also Choosing to Wallow in Relationship Pain).
You, too, must know yourself!
Earlier I quoted Socrates: Physician, know thyself. This lies at the core of the work of any good therapist, psychologist, analyst, psychiatrist, or healer. Not only because this individual is in the business of helping people understand and help themselves, and consequently improve their lives and broaden their parameters of inner freedom, but also because if this individual does not begin with the humility of recognizing that he or she also has issues to be resolved, he’s going to be quite hopeless at helping other people resolve theirs. It doesn’t mean he has to have every single one of his issues resolved long before he begins to see clients. It just means he must be working on them. Actively. Continually. Incessantly. Tirelessly.
What Attracts you is Very Important…
So let’s go on to the question about the hypothetical client I might feel attracted to. Here there can be no doubt. An ethical practitioner will immediately recognize some kind of counter transference, i.e. that the client has touched on some core of an unresolved issue in oneself. Again, therefore, the therapist has to look inside. And be very ethical.
The Treasure Map
So how does this relate to people outside of a practice? In exactly the same manner. (Listen to the audio clip Obsession, Suspicion, Jealousy, and the Need to Control in the “Emotions” Section). When you feel attracted to someone, it is because that person carries within them something that lights up your buttons because there is something there that is unresolved in you. It doesn't have to be a difficult or negative thing, simply something that has not yet been addressed, and the fact that you are now attracted to this specific individual, should be reason enough for you to realize that beyond the chemistry, beyond the infatuation, beyond the possible love, there is something even more important that can help you become more psychologically and emotionally free, and precisely this person can be the means by which you get there. . (See also my July 2006 Newsletter: I Need You...I Need You Not). As long as you realize the mechanism of the dynamics behind what is happening. In other words, don’t go there, don’t go into the relationship blindly. Look at yourself. Understand that the attraction, just as in the example of my hypothetical client, is a sign to you, a clue, a map, a treasure map, so that you will sit up and take notice. Your feelings are – in this sense – your road to freedom. Pay attention to them beyond the obvious. Learn to use them. Use them to grow. Grow and transform your way into freedom, because that is your duty to yourself and that is your right.
For more about your reactions to others, your projections, your emotional expression, and how awareness of this can help you find love, and move towards spiritual partnership and inner peace, see my book The Tao of Spiritual Partnership in paperback format. (The Kindle version is available here)
To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here
This ground-breaking book addresses:
• relationship patterns that hold you back from a truly fulfilled life
• the strong connection between sexuality and spiritual partnership
• communication leading to true connection & lasting transformation of your relationship
It is precisely at the problematic crossroads so often encountered in relationships that we are offered the opportunity to create a new foundation based on mutual complementarity rather than need; a free relationship between two people who want to be together, rather than two people who need to be together. Needing another, we are told, is the measure of love, but for a fully conscious individual nothing could be further from the truth. And therein lies part of the secret and healing power of spiritual partnerships.
Praise for The Tao of Spiritual Partnership
“All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come."
Chris Griscom: Spiritual Leader, Author (among others) of Time is an Illusion and Ecstasy is a New Frequency
REWIRING THE SOUL
For more about understanding the path towards life meaning and the inner quest, also have a look at my earlier book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self (paperback or Kindle).
To download the first chapter, click here
To see the Table of Contents click here
From the Description on Amazon: Ask anyone, whatever their circumstances, if their life is vibrant, fulfilling, harmonious and happy. An honest reply is likely to be 'no', because to answer a truthful 'yes' is no mean feat. Only to grow psychologically and emotionally is not enough. And only to grow spiritually is not enough either. All three dimensions need to be developed in order to realize your full potential. If you are willing to assume total responsibility for the self and to start what is an on-going journey, you will quickly begin to glimpse the first fruits of the ultimate goal: inner well-being, freedom, peace, harmony and joy. This book sets out the pathway to self-mastery and self-discovery and walking that pathway will be the most exciting adventure of your life.
Reviews From the Back Cover:
A revelation of insight into the foundations of human suffering & transcendence. It not only lays out essential steps for inner freedom & joy but illuminates the way to true human potential. Dr. Kortsch is a spiritual master for our time. Paul Rademacher, Executive Director, The Monroe Institute; author: A Spiritual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe
"The masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul. Dazzling, challenging, wondrously useful." Peggy Rubin, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author: To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre
My new book: The Power of Your Heart: Loving the Self, is due out later this year. Here is a brief excerpt from the Introduction:
It is your right to live a life of love. It is your right to understand that loving yourself first is not a selfish way of behavior, but one that allows you to live that life of love. However, it's highly probable that you never got the instruction manual explaining exactly how to accomplish this. Possibly your family - and it may have been a loving family - considered loving the self an act of selfishness. Or perhaps the members of your family simply didn't practice loving the self, and of course, what you didn't see - what was not shown to you - while you were growing up, meant that you just didn't learn how to apply it to yourself. The closer you are able to move towards loving yourself, the closer you will be to living a life of love - quite independently of whether you are in a love relationship or not. A life of love can be lived with or without a partnership, because a life of love implies that you know that it all begins with you by loving the self. The more clearly you understand how to love yourself, the more clearly you will see that it is very hard - if not impossible - to love others in ways that are unrelated to fulfilling any of your needs. Loving yourself first is - for so many of us - one of the hardest things we will ever learn how to do. But know this: the benefits affect you in every particle of your being - body, mind, and soul - and are greater than you will ever be able to imagine.
Note: If you are wondering why this blog is now only appearing on alternate days (excluding Sat/Sun), it is because I also post on my other blog on the others days. That other blog is The Tao of Spiritual Partnership, so named for my new book. Click here to visit the blog and/or to sign up for the feed.