Inner Healing and Wholeness through Psychosynthesis
I went to Auschwitz earlier this year. I haven’t spoken about my visit since then. It is only now, six
months later that I am somewhat able to express my experience. Many years ago, I read Viktor
Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning which depicted his journey living through the horrors of
the Holocaust and the concentration camps, and while disturbed by this read, I had ‘a pull’ to go
I will never forget being there. It was a harrowing sight, the buildings, the gas chambers, the ovens,
the hospital where experiments were carried out, the wall where people were executed, the human
hair, the footwear, the kitchen utensils which were probably the family heirlooms given to loved
ones heading to the promised land and a better life.
Listening to the tour guide was almost unbearable as she recounted the atrocities by one human
being on another. The hope for a new life, a new beginning dashed, ensuing despair and death.
There are worse things than death. For some of the prisoners, hope still whispered in the hearts of
people who dreamed of a better ending and the power of love and timeless spirit.
The women’s quarters left me numb. It was the final part of the tour and by then I couldn’t take in anymore. I had no opinions, I was overwhelmed and traumatised by the images I saw and the ones I created in my mind. I was unable to speak. I don’t know if it was due to the horror I was hearing about or if it was out of respect for those who died and those who lived despite the horror of this place. It somehow felt sacred, a burial place for our fellow men, women and children. I wanted to kiss the earth and thread softly in case I might disturb a blade of grass and at the same time there was an urge to shout and stamp on the soil at Auschwitz.
At the end of the visit, the tour guide passionately said – “you have been here, I tell you all this so
that it must not happen again.” What I was left with I could not speak of – the deep sadness and
shame that we haven’t learned anything. As a species we continue to hurt, reject, castigate, isolate, segregate, annihilate each other. We continue to create hell on earth. We do this on a global level. We do this in our own country. We do this in our workplaces, our families and in our relationships. We don’t seem to have learned anything.
From a psychological perspective, I do this to myself also. I don’t seem to learn either. I hurt, reject, castigate, isolate, segregate, annihilate parts of myself. I create my own hell on earth sometimes. It is often difficult for me to talk about this too, and there is a deep sadness within. There is more than that though – there is a longing to console, comfort, integrate, to embrace, to tenderly hold all my inhumanity, my darkness, my shadow and the parts of me banned and banished to the underworld of the psyche.
I remember and am soothed by Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy who
said the most beautiful orchids grow on the dung heap. I wish to transmute my darkness into light as
night and moonshine become daylight and sunshine. I want to embrace it all in my loving arms for
inner healing and wholeness.
I imagine and dream of my arms full of orchids, representing all my humanity – the good, the bad,
and the ugly. My human nature held in the arms of love and kindness.
Like Frank I continue to search for meaning!
As I write I have a sense of silence again, there is nothing more to say right now.
A Professional Certificate in Psychosynthesis will commence in November in ICPPD, Athlone.
For details visit www.icppd.com