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Zen and Gestalt

Let us strive to awaken, awaken, take heed…

It happens frequently to me that when somebody asks me why I practice Zen or why I became a Gestalt Psychotherapist I am not able to answer immediately. There is a place within myself that can answer these questions but it seems not to be approachable ad hoc.

I practice Zen and I became a Gestalt Psychotherapist because both are fields/activities that activate my vibrancy, my joy, my creativity, my love, my passion and the feeling of connectedness. This does not happen because I push it but remarkably it happens by its very own laws which I can not control. For example it can happen if I sit still for a long period of time observing what is going on in my mind and my body and it happens sometimes in therapy when the I-Thou (Martin Buber) arises. The I-Thou is a moment of deep compassion towards each other where without judging we are able to see and touch the other person and be seen and touched by it. It is almost something mystical it is impossible for me to name how it is happening. But I know how it feels and it feels right and it feels true to me.

And I think what makes this experience so precious is that those aspects of our lifes have dwindled away more and more. We have traded in liveliness, joy, creativity, real contact and passion for safety, fear, numbness, pressure to perform and conformity.

Even more I guess they have not only been pushed into the background I also have the hollow assumption that exactly those are the attributes we need to bring about change in our world. With this I mean that we have and are aware of plenty of consensus knowledge that indicates that our behaviour and mindset on this planet will finally lead to a collapse. Alongside the consensus knowledge presumably a lot of us have this knowledge within ourselves floating around at the surface or beneath it. And at the same time most of us are so skilled in suppressing and pushing aside these certainties. I am, too. And this scares me and it also motivates me. And I deeply hope that we will find ways to walk together which will bring to the surface more joy, freedom, creativity, vibrancy and whatever it is that makes us happy.

Jutta Keijo Pieper