Crossing the Threshold between Inner and Outer Worlds
When I was trying to think of a tagline for my website, I wanted to capture the feeling nature of the work I do. My friend Mary Benefiel had helpfully pointed me in the direction of a line from a Rumi poem: ‘People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch.’
At the time I was working on a creative project, called ‘Home’, in which doorways and thresholds featured prominently. There was the bedroom door of my childhood, which at night-time opened onto darkness. I saw this conceptually as a way into the Unconscious – a place both frightening and exciting. I was exploring the land of dreams from Greek mythology, where there were two gates leading from the dream realm. One was fashioned of ivory. It was said that false dreams passed through here. Another, made of polished horn, was the passageway through which truthful dreams winged their way. There was also a metaphor from the Lazaris Material that I was drawing upon, a way to visualise the future. Standing in the present moment in the amphitheatre of life, we see many doors along the wall in front of us. Some doors are closed, some partially open and some are wide open. Each door leads to a potential future – a myriad of possibilities.
And so all of this seemed useful for trying to find a way to explain what I was interested in and what I hoped to help facilitate for others: a way to have free access to our inner and outer worlds and all the benefits that that could bring. The tagline I came up with is the title of this article.
When we are small we haven’t yet developed the skills we need to responsibly deal with our reality. We soon develop strategies to cope with the world, makeshift defences in our quest for survival, security and, later on, a sense of belonging. Unfortunately our society encourages us in our strategies to manipulate others to get what we want. Generally our society encourages us to be outer-directed rather than inner-directed. What we are looking for is ‘out there’ and we have to try to find a way to get it. Any parts of our self or emotions that don’t fit in with what’s ‘out there’ we discard, repress, deny. For those of us who are adults our defences worked, in the sense that they got us to this point. However, this has been at a great cost – we have sacrificed a lot of our self in order to make it through. One of the main purposes of therapy is to help us ease these defences so that we can rediscover those lost and discarded parts of our self.
For many their first encounter with therapy can be triggered by a need to deal with trauma or difficulty. As time goes on the impetus for therapeutic work can transform into a desire to discover and develop more and more of our self. For me, psychotherapy was the route through which I discovered my metaphysics and spirituality. Self discovery and growth is never ending, which is in fact a wonderful thing. There is always more that we can discover and access in our self: more power, more strength, more talent, more love, more aspects of our consciousness et cetera.
The other side of self discovery is taking what we have gleaned and applying it in the outside world. Knowing more of who we are, what we think, feel, intuit and sense, we are more able to deal with what life brings us, whether that be difficult, challenging or joyful. We have access to inner-resources and a sound basis from which to approach the crafting of our life. We can choose to create the life that we want, rather than the one we think is expected of us. We can have the courage and trust in our self to develop relationships that are intimate and rewarding.
Ultimately there is no separation between our inner and outer worlds or the different aspects of our consciousness. However, this interconnectedness doesn’t mean that everything is merged in some sort of amorphous nebulousness. We have distinction; the different aspects of our self have distinction. At the same time everything is connected, energy and information can flow freely between the different parts of our self and between our self and others. The more that we can open up to all aspects our self, the more we can reconnect and integrate what has becomes separated, the more we can become self realised in the world and live a rich and fulfilling life.
Leigh Osborne, Copyright March 2016