This question that has been with me for many years, and has again come into renewed focus, it is, does God exists? It may sound trite and as old as the hills, but it goes straight to the heart of so much of our philosophy and approach to living, and the orientation that therapists take.
Perls and Goodman’s (“Gestalt Therapy” 1951) trust in “organismic self-regulation” and their reference to the ultimate freedom of ‘being’ that the Tao represents, points towards their sense of there being a ‘something’ that motivates our souls and to which we can eventually ‘tune into to’. No one who has experienced deep, therapy, meditation, group-work, nature, falling in love, hitting a tennis ball perfectly, ‘aha’ moments, etc. etc. can doubt that we can we can inhabit very different levels of being. The energy that can be so clearly felt in groups when those present share a deep connection, is palpable, as it is when we are able to integrate our head, heart and body deeply in the here and now, with openness, acceptance, love and embodied awareness.
The question is about what is happening in these situations? Is it simply that areas of brain are being activated that we don’t normally access, and that we can train ourselves to live closer to these pleasurable experiences? Or does the sense of meaning that fills us from these experiences come from their connection to some ultimate meaning that exists independently of us? Are Love and Consciousness just logical semi-chance creations of Evolution? Or is Evolution and the emergence of Love and Consciousness the creation of a force that is still beyond our scientific understanding?
This also comes down to the question of whether or not we are alone? I see clearly how so many people avoid their self-responsibility through believing in ‘something’ (whatever word fits best) in one form or another. But this in itself does not mean there is not truth there. We all misuse whatever we can at times to avoid what is almost unbearable within us.
From one point of view this argument doesn’t matter very much. The reality of our development journey and its trajectory maybe does not need an answer to this question. We can still have a very full sense of what our potential as human beings is, i.e. this enormous journey of reconciling our ego towards being able to live ever closer to the here and now in presence and freedom.
But there is something here about being supported to be able to really open our hearts. I am not sure how possible this is without some sense of “not being alone”? This is where I am at the moment, living with this question. Do I need to sense / experience / see / feel that somehow God is supporting me in order that I can let go and really trust life, really let my heart open and let my old ego defences melt away? Or is this just a fantasy, an archaic wish to be rescued that I need to grow out of? Are the spiritual aspects of our experience connected to some reality, or are they illusory epiphenomena? The difference matters if either facilitates or hinders the liberation I intuit is possible.
I have a friend very painfully dying from MS just now, struggling desperately to come to terms with the un-imaginably un-bearable. I know the profundity of “what’s in the way is the way” and I’m also reminded of Frankl’s ultimate sense of choice. I only hope that she can somehow transcend her awful situation, or maybe that grace can somehow provide her that transformation? But then I hope that we can all transcend our fear, a task that seems far too huge at times, and yet a possibility so full of love it surely has to be hung onto.
The age-old question still hangs there – how can God possibly exist in world so full of fear, hate, violence and suffering? Yet surely those movements into understanding, reconciliation and opening that I see every day with my clients speaks to the deep “organismic self-regulatory” desire for Being that can only come from a level of life where we are profoundly connected, a level beyond our ego and rational intellect, i.e. God? Maybe one day science will understand how it all works?
Also, as Alan Watts used to say, all is only as it can be at this moment because every thing, event or situation is connected to everything else, right back to the beginning. So, changing our self changes the universe! Yes! … but … perhaps it’s letting go and surrendering to God’s will that changes the universe? But then perhaps God’s will is about us owning the choice we have been given to take full responsibility for ourselves (such a huge task!) in order that we can then fully let go? So many questions.