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To encourage access to the superconscious, psychosynthesis offers various practical techniques, based on visualization, inner silence and meditation. Assagioli gave me the following image: "We are like a lotus, whose beauty and perfume are clearly perceptible by all, and whose roots are sunk in the mud". Without the mud the lotus would not live and grow." And now let us go back to Assagioli's waiting room. Assagioli differentiates the higher unconscious from the middle unconscious - the stuff of which we are not always aware, but which is accessible, for example our telephone number, or the memory of what we did last summer - and from the lower unconscious, seat of impulses and instincts, the part of us that represents the beginnings of our evolution. Seeing as I used to enjoy an argument, I immediately grabbed the opportunity: "There's the moralising! There was a divan with a garnet-coloured silk blanket on it, and Sanskrit writing embroidered in gold.
Then Assagioli's house-keeper led him to another room, and, giving him pen and paper, said: "Doctor Assagioli would like you to make a list of everything you saw in the first room – every object, painting, and so on." It was an exercise in observation, very useful for those who live too much in their feelings and forget their hold on reality.
Just as this man was telling me the story, Assagioli, unbeknown to me, was dying in his country house at Capolona.
This observation exercise may seem a curiosity, a simple exercise. Psychosynthesis aims at mastery of all our psychic functions.
How can we feel well if we have no control over ourselves, if we cannot use to advantage the instruments we have been given? Assagioli retrieved it from the limbo to which psychoanalysis had relegated it.
On the other hand, if our relations with others are serene and harmonious, we will feel better. He spoke of a Way of beauty, which leads to the realisation of the Self, and whose basic ingredient is the sense of revelation and fullness that beauty can offer.
Love, kindness, serenity, openness, and other interpersonal qualities can be cultivated. After about a year of working with Assagioli, I thought I understood that the techniques of psychosysnthesis were not so important, and that what really counted was the relation between therapist or counselor and client, the alchemy that happens between these two people. I was wondering how long it would take you." Assagioli was also one of the first to regard beauty as a basic human experience. But in psychosynthesis beauty in all its forms is considered worthy of attention, because it is formative.
NB: For more leadership coaching resources, join our coaching community Reading about Roberto Assagioli and Psychosynthesis (Aubyn’s view) A very good starting point to understanding the man and his ideas can be to read an article in Psychology Today by Sam Keen, based upon an interview with Roberto Assagioli shortly before his death.
Click on this link to download the pdf: The Golden Mean of Roberto Assagioli – Sam Keen.
It is Krishna speaking, symbol of the spiritual Self. Some can realize themselves through dance, others through meditation, some through work and immersing themselves in society, others through the contemplation of beauty, some in scientific research and philosophy, others through prayer.
This too was a notion dear to Assagioli: the ways to our true Self (or transpersonal Self, as he liked to call it) are many.