Why is Immediacy necessary?

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys.  How’s the water?”  And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

Excerpt from This is Water by David Foster Wallace

I was recently asked: “Why do this often difficult, sometimes painful, and almost always, tedious work of self-examination and personal realization?”  Though it may not prove to be medically necessary under the narrow definitions that insurance companies maintain and some even say it goes so far as to be self-indulgent, I argue in this paper that the work we do in Gestalt therapy is vitally necessary for these turbulent and rapidly changing times we find ourselves in, not only to relieve our personal distress, but for the good of our humanity.

Gestalt therapy is based on the premise that life is cyclical, which means it naturally has its beginnings, middles, and endings.  We see this displayed all around us: in the 24 hour day, in the changing seasons, in the stories we read, in the meals that we eat, in the relationships we engage in, and ultimately, in our lifetimes.  When we get stuck somewhere in this cycle, the natural dissolving (of forms) into re-forming (of the next) is inhibited and so is the natural process of our evolution.  GT attempts to help us complete what is unfinished, thereby, allowing fullness/wholeness to be restored.

As we complete, we peel off the layers of our personality to expose the structures and beliefs that we live by.  THIS IS WATER – the default settings that go largely unnoticed in most people.  And this is important for what reason?  Because they are these structures that we project out on to the world which collectively become the socio-political institutions we coexist in.  By slowly learning to dis-identify with our personality (with our thought-driven ways) and come more to our senses (to the way things actually are), we give ourselves the opportunity to make contact with ourselves as we are which leads to tremendous peace and self-acceptance.  In doing so, we open to others as they are which is the basis for compassion.  And it is this appreciation of differences that leads to growth, transformation and ultimately, evolution.

Simply put:  This business of dying and being reborn is risky because our life will change as our beliefs shift.  But as we make peace with our internal warring factions, we can and will bring peace to the world around us.  This, I believe, is why immediacy work is so necessary.

Story and ideas here are gleaned in part from This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace (2009).

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