Being with the emergent is not the same thing as being with the here and now - and it is.
What’s emerging now is this sentence I’m typing about my now. But I could just as well be writing about an email I received yesterday from a friend. What we are doing is always being done here and now, but our consciousness can be focused on any time or place.
For me the Gestalt challenge is not be here now. It is be with the emergent figure in your consciousness.
That’s sometimes harder to do than be here now. How many times have you participated in a check-in where the checker stayed in the here and now and reported vague sensations in some part of their body or an innocuous object in their field of vision. Not hard to do.
But what if you’re thinking about an embarrassing or revealing event that has already or might soon take place. Or you have some difficult unfinished business that you don’t know how to handle (past and future concerns). Sharing that might be more difficult than reporting a fluttering in your tummy.
The scary/exciting thing about the emergent is that it is unpredictable. When I was busy typing paragraph one of this blog I didn’t know what paragraph four would look like. The fact that your emergent consciousness is unpredictable means that it might get you in trouble. And undoubtedly it already has .. on many occasions. But your alternative to being with your emergent consciousness is blocking off parts of your awareness. A heavy price to pay.
Being with means noting and experiencing some aspect of yourself. I hesitate to apply the word “accept” in this case, because “accept” implies a moral judgment (an impulse can be deemed “acceptable” or not). Being with the emergent is not self-acceptance. It is simply experiencing the emerging moment.
Noting and experiencing our emergent consciousness over time may have subtle and far-reaching positive consequences. When we are consistently able to be with our emergent consciousness, then whatever our context throws our way, we’re more likely to respond to it whole-heartedly and flexibly. The whole-heartedness stems from our being aligned with ourselves, rather than trying to shove some part of ourselves away. The flexibility, because we are open to the changes engendered in us by the emergent context.
That combination of flexibility and whole heartedness is an indicator of authenticity, a quality appreciated in the Gestalt pyramid of values.
A woman once asked Fritz, “Are you by any chance Fritz Perls?”
His reply, “Not by chance Madam, by grim determination.”
Indeed, authenticity is a quality not easily retained or attained.
Frank Rubenfeld, Ph.D. is a BAGI Trainer and Faculty Member. For more, go to www.frankrubenfeld.com