The rivers of life (the psyche needs attention)
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Judith Schuepfer-Griffin Registered MBACP, BA Hons
22nd March, 20140 Comments
While I'm writing this, the Somerset Levels are under water for several weeks now; people and animals are being evacuated. It's assumed that it got so bad because the rivers in the area haven't been dredged for far too long. They are full of silt, and can't hold enough water to help the flood-water getting away. And so disaster strikes, and everybody is lamenting even though this outcome was very probable indeed. This reminds me of psychological processes. The psyche needs constant attention and looking after, sometimes more, sometimes less intensely. But if we ignore the psyche and the inner goings on, they will turn against us and we will sooner or later get stuck in the mud. The inner streams and rivers get silted up and life becomes difficult.
Only recently have we begun to realise that we need to look after our environment, nature, our resources like water, air, the soil and that, if we don't, we commit slow collective suicide. What we haven't realised yet is that the same applies to our inner world, the universe of the psyche. If we don't take care of our inner resources they will stop to nourish us; our inner life-giving rivers will silt up and emotional flooding will devastate the landscape of our lives: Depression, anxiety, anger, relationship problems, empty, meaningless lives etc. will be the result.
We all know the word "psyche" but it's virtually meaningless to most of us. Many of us know nothing about an inner world and its workings, let alone that it might have an effect on our every-day lives. It's almost like assuming that there can be day without night, that there could be only men in this world but no women, that a living thing should be able to exist without water. It's impossible. But we assume that we should be able to live good lives without ever paying attention to our psyche, our soul, our emotional world within. It's like trying to walk on one leg.
There seems to be this intense fear of what we might discover if we dared to look inside ourselves, and we don't know about the treasures we will never discover. Of course we're always on the lookout for these treasures but confuse them with money, image, material things. We don't realise that we're looking in the wrong place and that what we are really looking for is right there, within ourselves: meaning, fulfilment, love, energy, joy, creativity, inspiration, connectedness. If we let these inner life-giving rivers silt up, our lives will be hard, dry, barren, stressful, dominated by self-doubt, loneliness, sadness, resentment and too often despair. So let's get those diggers out and clear the river-beds so that the waters of life can flow again!
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