Wednesday, January 27, 2016


In my few moments of meditational preparation before I see my first person of the day one of the prayers I say is "Help me to be a vehicle of Divine Love with my patients today." This prayer reflects an evolution of my thinking regarding my role as a psychotherapist. Increasingly some of the notions of the mystical traditions have become central to my evolving worldview, my view of myself in the world, and my lifework as a psychotherapist. My twice weekly contemplative walks in the woods and my meditations sitting with my back against a tree have contributed to what is unfolding. I playfully think of myself as an "aspiring nature mystic."
Most of the mystics(including Meister Eckhart in the Christian tradition, Abraham Heschel in the Judaic tradition, Rumi in the Sufi tradition) teach about the interconnectedness of all beings. They also say that there exists a metaconsciousness(which has different names in each of their traditions) the essence of which is love. They talk about the Divine and Divine Love.
One of my intentions in my woodland walks is to connect more to the Divine. In my efforts to make the relationship more personal I use the sun as an image of the Divine and refer to it as "the Old One." I find it helpful, and yet I acknowledge that it is a limited attempt to grasp the unknowable. Moreover, I imagine the rays of the sun shining through the trees as emanations of Divine Love - a love that shines on everyone and everything. It is this Divine Love that I'm trying to access in my prayers before seeing my patients.
Periodically people ask me how I have been able to be in the presence of so much pain, doubt, sadness, fear, depression for so many years without getting burnt out. I reply that if I were reliant only upon the small heart of my ordinary ego the accumulated weight of carrying all that would become overwhelming long ago. However, many years ago I began to find it very helpful to access my personal Higher Self as a source of a much greater capacity for compassion and other forms of love. Since then whenever I am able to transcend my ordinary ego and access my Higher Self - whom I have named Wiseheart - during sessions I am able to be a compassionate presence for hours. Moreover, for many years I have thought of Wiseheart as being connected to an infinitely larger consciousness capable of an amount of love that is beyond our ability to understand. Gradually my thinking about that larger consciousness has evolved into the notion that my old friend Wiseheart is an aspect of the Divine and a conduit of Divine Love. Recently I've thought that when I'm connecting to Wiseheart I am being a vehicle or conduit of that source of love. So in my prayer before beginning work I am asking Wiseheart,"Help me to be a vehicle of Divine Love with my patients today."


It is essential that our patients feel that they "are in good hands" when they come to us with their problems. As their psychotherapy sessions continue they become more vulnerable and reveal to us their innermost thoughts and feelings. Periodically they say,"I've never told this before to anyone." This is a "sacred entrusting." Although they have been wounded by others they are expecting and hoping that we will be different and that we will them with respect, compassion and loving kindness. From my perspective we make with them a sacred agreement, often unspoken, to be that entrusted person.
As part of the evolution of my work, increasingly I feel that there is another sacred entrusting - between me and Life. Between me and the Divine. In whatever way the referral originally occurred Life has presented me with these patients. The Divine asks me, in addition to using my skills and experience, to treat each of them with respect, importance and love. Although I don't usually consciously acknowledge it, I feel that at some higher level of consciousness I am saying "Yes" to that sacred pact.