Summer is now upon us, hot weather is here in spades, and we are wondering what happened to all that cold weather and cool breezes of the “June Gloom” that we were complaining about.
Speaking of June Gloom, dark skies, and reminders of the dark side of life, we want to share with you the work of one of our great colleagues in the field of relationship therapy, John Welwood. We consider Welwood to be one of the true pioneers in the healing of relationships – for his blend of psychotherapy traditions and the spiritual/meditative.
He does not shy away from saying that it as important for us to slog through the Valleys of the Shadow of Death (the realm of the ego and the personal), as it is to climb the Great Mountains of Spirit and Meditation (the realm of the transpersonal and suprapersonal). We have a wonderful article, “Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible,”that we would like to share with you. We believe that when you read the section on “Relationship as Charnel Ground” you might be provoked into getting into a discussion with us and others.
What you will read there might seem outrageous—the word “charnel” is related to the word “carnal,” and carries many of the same connotations: fleshy, sensual, sexual, concerned with the body as opposed to the spirit, even lustful, animal. The “charnel” ground comes from the traditional Asian society, where people brought dead bodies to a certain place to be eaten by vultures and jackals.
What Welwood wants us to think about is our cartoon version of relationship, which is supposed to give us such a sense of peace and security that we never have to face the gritty, dirty, realities of life, like loneliness, disappointment, despair, terror, or disintegration; and that if we are to have a “spiritual awakening” and realize our spiritual nature in and through relationship, then we had better stop forcing ourselves to be “spiritual” and get ready to acknowledge that a deep and intimate connection to our beloved is going to put us right in the middle of a mess—with hyenas, jackals, and vultures looking for their next piece of flesh to eat and come to grips with that, if we want to soar with the eagles—and angels—up above.
Do you agree? Have a read and tell us what you think.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Janis & David