On Becoming a Person – Reading Carl Rogers – part 2

The Person Who Emerges

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  1. Openness to Experience

… individual becomes more open to his experience..

if the evidence of our senses runs contrary to our picture of self, then that evidence is distorted -> we cannot see all that our senses report, but only the things which fit the picture we have.

the individual becomes more openly aware of his own feelings and attitudes as they exist in him at an organic level – he also becomes more aware of reality as it exists outside of himself… he is able to take in the evidence in a new situation, as it is, rather than distorting it to fit a pattern which he already holds.

openness to experience = more realistic in dealing with new people, new situations, new problems; … his beliefs are not rigid, that one can tolerate ambiguity.

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Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Rereading Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull as a good reminder for “Find what it is you want most in the world to do – and then do it.”

Practice it every day. Experiment. Strive to know “what I can do in the air and what I can’t” – “there is so much to learn!” And through practicing this art of being who we really are we feel alive, “trembling ever so slightly with delight” and we let go of fear. Once we find what is it that we want the most, we feel power, joy, pure beauty and “how much more there is to living!”

Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.

On perfection and being there:

You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.

… To fly as fast as thought, to go anywhere that is, you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived…

The trick was to know that his true nature lived, as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.

It always works, when you know what you’re doing.

On kindness and love

… and then you will be ready to begin the most difficult, the most powerful, the most fun of all. You will be ready to begin to fly up and know the meaning of kindness and of love.

“Jonathan, keep working on love”

And the more Jonathan practiced his kindness lessons, and the more he worked to know the nature of love, the more he wanted to go back to Earth. For in spite of his lonely past, Jonathan Seagull was born to be an instructor, and his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself.

On friendship

If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all the we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?”

 

Books in my life

 

On Becoming a Person – Reading Carl Rogers – part 1

Chapter 6 – What It Means to Become a Person

108/ I know that the problem as stated in the first interview will not be the problem as seen in the second or third hour, and by the tenth interview it will be a still different problem or series of problems.

It seems to me that at bottom each person is asking, “Who am I, really? How can I get in touch with this real self, underlying all my surface behavior? How can I become myself?”

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Book of Memory: Riga Chapter

Memory: the space in which a thing happens for the second time.

~ Paul Auster
The Book of Memory

 

Back in February 2017 I was reading Paul Aster’s: The Book of Memory and many things there have triggered my own memories and interpretations. Somehow it really triggered particular memories from one of the places we used to live in Riga. Maybe because it was the longest time ever I lived in one place without moving – for 15 years we managed to stay in one place. Otherwise it was and still is a constant change.

Memory as a room…

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“Interaction of greed and fear”

Amazing how some things never change – I’m currently reading The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanaponika Thera first published in 1962 – and his words can’t be more accurate to describe our current situation:

“…the turbulence and suffering, that, alas, are generally equivalent with political history, affect increasingly larger sections of mankind, directly or indirectly… Tragic monotony of behaviour that prompts mankind to prepare again for a new bout of that raving madness called war … The same old mechanism is at work again: the interaction of greed and fear. Lust for power or desire to dominate are barely restrained by fear … Fear ..constantly poisons the atmosphere by creating a feeling of frustration which again will fan the fires of hate…”

Some food for thought…

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A balanced time perspective and finding fulfilling work

As Abraham Maslow famously noted, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – I study time perspective and I see traces of it almost everywhere. Here are some of my time perspectively infused notes while reading “How to find fulfilling work” by Roman Krznaric.

“We are not psychologically ready to deal with the expansion of choice in recent history”

While discussing his concept of ‘hardiness’ Salvatore Maddi notes: When choosing a future, or unfamiliar path, over repeating a past, something familiar and convenient, it is most consistent with our pursuit to elaborate life’s meaning (and finding a fulfilling work), but it also brings ontological anxiety – the fear of uncertainty and possible failure:

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Reading Brassaï about Henry Miller

While reading “Henry Miller: The Paris Years” by Brassaï I made a few discoveries about Miller, but also about Anais Nin and Brassaï him-self.

Henry Miller by Brassaï

Henry Miller by Brassaï

Revived my interest in the surrealist movement. Currently am looking into finding their essays about the automatic writing and such. But it is amazing what an impact the psychoanalysis had! The power of dreams that became legit in all the different forms of arts — literature, visual and performance arts. At same time it is not really measurable by the impact factor of scientific journals at all! Some of the ideas just go through and nowadays it is even hard to trace their origin and put a tag on it.

I discovered also that most of Miller’s novels are not as autobiographical as I thought earlier — it’s just he had a very strong power of imagination and sometimes couldn’t even distinguish between reality and fiction or dream. “…like the Surrealists and the Dadaists, Henry believed that the dreams provided fertile soil for writing, and that the writing did involve the struggle to bring to the surface that which was unknown, hidden, and unrealized” (p. 155). I’ll have to also look up his work “Into the Night Life” which he thought was like the Surrealists were doing.

So much like Brassaï “I live in what I see and hear” and Miller’s “treasures are buried deep within yourself, deep within the bowels of your inner self, and from them you can bring forth copper, or silver, or gold”. I am all about the details which have to match somehow. Scrupulous and pedantic… and so is my art, well, most of it.. Funny fact is both Brassaï and me were born on September 9th.

quote from Brassai

I have also discovered that some of Miller’s prose can actually be read as poetry and it makes a lot of sense. And I am curious to reread his books in English now.

I was hoping that the book will have more photos by Brassaï in it, his nocturnal Paris. But I ordered a few from the library to complement the reading with some visuals. A journey to Paris that doesn’t exist any more. Likewise Istanbul depicted by Orhan Pamuk and Ara Güler. Somehow these poetic city journeys are very interesting for me. Like many other people, I love to walk the city. To see where the feet will take me. What discoveries I will make on my journey.

I wish there was a similar book about Riga. There are so many different interesting corners in my hometown. Every time I go back there, I want to document every street of it. Every story that those streets have…

Books in my life