Enlightenment Seminar

by 
Allisone Heartsong
© 9 September 2006 In God We Trust


Professor Hartman welcomes two graduate students into his study for the first meeting of an advanced seminar on communication theory.

After introducing Sarah and Arthur to one another, he invites them to be seated in two comfortable Barcaloungers.

Turning the lights down low, he sits down in another lounge chair which faces them, and takes a deep breath.

Then, instead of speaking immediately, he allows a relaxed silence to ensue.

In response to this relaxed silence, Arthur stretches back in his Barcalounger, takes a deep breath, and says: ďThis is good.Ē

After a brief moment of reflection, Professor Hartman looks up at Arthur and asks, ďWhy do you say that?Ē

The conversation then proceeds as follows:

A. Itís just a feeling

H. Just a feeling?

A. Yeah. I wasnít really thinking when I said that. I was just expressing a spontaneous feeling.

H. And how are you feeling at this moment, Sarah?

S. Well, I think that Arthur is just trying to please you.

H. And how does that make you feel?

S. Competitive.

H. Arthur, what do you think about that?

A. Iím surprised. I wasnít trying to please you when I said that. I was just expressing my spontaneous feeling.

H. So how are you feeling toward Sarah at this moment?

A. I feel that I am being projectively misperceived by her. I can understand her competitive feeling toward me, because our whole educational system is designed to encourage students to compete with one another. But I donít really feel competitive toward Sarah. I would prefer to think of her as a friend rather than an enemy or an adversary. And thatís part of what I meant when I said: ďThis is good.Ē

H. So what exactly did you mean?

A. I meant that I felt you were creating a relaxed atmosphere in which we could cooperate with one another as friends rather than compete with one another as adversaries.

H. And what is your response to that, Sarah?

S. Iím so surprised that I donít know what to think. Itís such a relief, to meet someone who isnít competitive! I feel like apologizing to Arthur and asking him to forgive me.

H. Would you like to do that right now?

S. Yes! Arthur, I want to apologize for my projective misperception. Please forgive me for misperceiving you.

A. I gladly accept your apology, Sarah, and not only do I forgive you, but I wholeheartedly invite you to be my friend.

S. Thank you, Arthur. I wholeheartedly accept your invitation.

H. And how are you feeling now, Sarah?

S. Well, Iím feeling a tremendous sense of relief. I feel like Iíve just gone through a process of psychotherapy and have been liberated from some kind of prison!

H. That, indeed, is what life is all about. First, we learn how to imprison ourselves with judgments, and then we learn how to liberate ourselves from our self-imposed prisons through forgiveness.

A. Well, now I feel like this is better than good, because this is great!

H. Why is that?

A. Because I experience that youíre relating to us like a true educator rather than a pedantic instructor.

H. And what is the difference as you experience it?

A. Well, I experience that it makes all the difference in the world. Instructors are teachers who pound information into their students, whereas educators are teachers who draw information out of their students. And I can see already that you have a real talent for drawing us out.

H. In that case, Iíd like to make the most of this opportunity by drawing you out even further.

A. Please do!

H. When I asked you why you said, ďThis is goodĒ, you replied that you werenít really thinking but that you were just expressing a spontaneous feeling.

A. Thatís right.

H. So now Iíd like to invite you to share with us what the general relationship is between your thoughts and your feelings as your experience it.

A. Very different from what it used to be.

H. How is that?

A. Before my psychoanalytic therapy with Dr. Theodor Reik, my thoughts and my feelings were at war with one another, because I was using my thoughts to suppress my feelings without realizing what I was doing.

H. I understand.

A. Then, during the course of my therapy, my personality went through a profound process of radical reorganization, and I gradually learned how to place my thoughts in the service of my feelings rather than misusing my thoughts to suppress my feelings.

H. How did that happen?

A. Well, I began to understand that Reik not only trusted his feelings but allowed his feelings to guide his thoughts. So it was essentially a process of learning from his example.

H. That was indeed a radical reorientation, from using your logical thoughts to suppress your intuitive feelings, to allowing your intuitive feelings to guide your logical thoughts.

A. Yeah, it was a revolutionary transformation. So now my thoughts and my feelings are no longer at war with one another.

H. Sarah, what are your thoughts and feelings about all of this?

S. I think my thoughts and feelings are still at war with one another. The idea of allowing my feelings to guide my thoughts seems like a very radical idea to me. So I guess I still have a lot to learn about trusting my feelings.

H. Perhaps Arthur could help you with that.

S. I was just thinking the same thing.

H. What do you think, Arthur?

A. Well, let me begin by saying that Iíve come to regard our logical thoughts as our masculine principle and our intuitive feelings as our feminine principle.

H. Yes, I understand.

A. So we all have logical thoughts as our masculine principle, and intuitive feelings as our feminine principle, regardless of whether we are male or female.

H. Right you are.

A. Now, itís a well-known fact that most men tend to rely more on their logical thoughts and that most women tend to rely more on their intuitive feelings.

H. Quite so.

A. But the important thing to see is that all of us need both our logical thoughts and our intuitive feelings in order to function effectively.

H. Would you agree with that, Sarah?

S. Yes. I can see the truth of what Arthur is saying.

A. So the essential thing to realize is that, just as the male gender and the female gender are complements rather than opposites, so logical thoughts and intuitive feelings are complements rather than opposites.

H. We could even go so far as to say that enlightenment begins when we arrive at the point of realizing that what may at first appear to be polar opposites are actually polar complements.

S. Yes, I see what you mean.

A. Consequently, the final thing to understand is that unless we make the enlightened choice to place our masculine principle in the service of our feminine principle so that our intuitive feelings can guide our logical thoughts, the only alternative is war, because our masculine principle will tend to subjugate our feminine principle and our logical thoughts will then be used to suppress our intuitive feelings.

S. That all makes sense, but I still donít see how I can trust my emotions.

A. Once you make a clear distinction between the negative judgmental emotions of fear, anger, grievance, and guilt which characterize your second chakra, and the positive intuitive feelings of love, joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude which characterize your fourth chakra, you will then be in a position to discover that the positive intuitive feelings of your heart chakra are trustworthy.
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