Creative Connections & Client Communications

Counseling Insights, January 31, 2005

Telling Stories

All teachers in any humanistic discipline know the value of “telling a story.” Parables crystallize points of view. The story puts “out there” what is inside the client; what’s “out there” is easier to manage, and the vivid nature of the narrative is memorable in and of itself.

Very often, we encounter client attitudes that are routined into weightiness; shadowy in manifestation. They tend to filter so many other thoughts and ideas. The feeling is one of not being able to get out from under, not being able to escape a point of view that is obviously inhibiting progress.

Telling a story; calmly, slowly, engagingly helps.

“Two Japanese monks are on a long foot journey back to their monastery. One monk is very old and the other is very young. They walk along in silence. The heavy rains have turned their path into mud; puddles are everywhere. They proceed directly, stoically.

“The two monks pass a rich country home. A beautiful lady –a Geisha—in beautiful robes, is at the threshold of the house. She contemplates the large puddle before her. Her dainty white feet and her trailing robes are threatened with soil.

“The younger monk leaves the path to assist the Geisha. He lifts her over the puddle to dry ground, and then he returns to his older partner. The older monk shows silent rage within his face.

“The two monks continue their journey for three days. They exchange no words.

“Finally, safe within the walls of their temple, the older monk releases his anger at the younger monk: ‘You should be ashamed of yourself! We monks are not permitted to go near females. It is dangerous. Why did you do it?’

“The younger monk replied, ‘I left the woman back there. You are still carrying her.

[--Or, the last phrase could be in the form of a question: “Why are you still carrying her?”]

The discussion can include an extremely important point that is very helpful in counseling situations like this:

A stimulus is registered in our human awareness. It is transmitted throughout our system by electrical signals passed along nerves. These signals interact within the brain to produce responses. The interpretive challenge is to distinguish between event (the stimulus) and reaction (the response). The meaning of an event, of a stimulus, is conceived by the mind. It lies not in the event but in our reaction to it. --Again: events have no value until the human being gives value to them.

Some more insights. The constantly expanding sum total of our responses in life defines our mind-set, our attitude, which we bring to bear with every experience we have. These patterns of reaction are focused in the main within the Cadent Grand Cross of Houses and are worked out from grounding in the 3rd through cooperation with others in the 6th, education in the 9th, and reflection of societal prescriptions in the 12th. –This is very clear, for example, in our findings that Saturn in or strongly involved with the ruler of the 3rd House or with Mercury suggests depression, a depressive mind-set.

In every choice we make in life, in every reaction that gives individual value to an event, the brain operates in totality: swirls of nerve cells are translated into faculties of individualized behavior (resources) to fulfill individualized needs. Our minds need to react a certain way (Mercury) and must assimilate necessary controls for efficiency (Saturn) and apply energy potentials (Mars). –I suggest that these three planetary symbols can be seen as defining the Matrix of the Will.

This entire process then is conditioned by our experience within development. We constantly store information for choice. Accumulated choices establish who we are. We gain our own mind in relation to the minds that judge us. The polarities of mind and brain, self and others, needs and prescriptions, being and non-being are as functional for life development as the polarities of day and night, Sun and Moon. The connections within polarities, the gaps between them, are the seat of anxiety.

These thoughts lead us to other levels of appreciation of the human being within the socio-developmental challenges we all face. –Clients have to be reminded that, all too easily and all too often, human beings over-dramatize oppressive circumstances in order to clarify status and identity under pressure … in order to make themselves feel all the more important as a focus of attention.

Often, personal anxieties are projected onto others; resource exchange tensions are tied together with misinterpreted connections. A person may feel that he or she is unloved or unvalued by a mate or a colleague when, in reality, the person feels that way about himself within guilt or self-deprecating depression.

The personal symptom is more manageable in projection upon another outside the self. –And this brings us back to many values presented in the story of the two monks.

Next Update, February 28, 2005


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