But more often stones and grit block the well, and God is buried beneath. Then he must be dug out again.”
What is InnerView Guidance?
InnerView is the soul knowledge it takes to navigate the interior landscape with a new map, the 4Fold Path map. Psychology for what the soul wants. InnerView Guidance is the process of realignment with feelings, needs, values and purposes which allow our inner and outer worlds to be congruent. That integral coherency in turn opens our limited personal selves to transpersonal and archetypal realms and we can view our life situation with a wide-angle lens. We then survey the inner landscape for signs of soul growth to nuture. No matter how brief or long-term, it is a therapeutic journey from…
- our present predicament to our preferred state
- where we are in life to where we want to be
- problems to possibilities
- repeating patterns to empowered choices
- circumstantial discouragement to purpose-driven hope
- what doesn’t really matter to what matters most
- what doesn’t belong to us to ‘owning’ what does
- nursing wounds of the past to initiating new beginnings
- what needs to be released to manifesting our soul vision
It is a matter of looking at the human condition through a telescope rather than a microscope.
As Rumi told us in the 13th century…
Let my wandering end as the story does of the Kurd who loses his camel.
Then the full moon comes out,
And he finds what he lost.
We need to always be searching for the full moon in a person’s life and what it can illuminate, no matter how eclipsed its light. Sometimes it’s like mining for specks of gold in a dark cave. It’s the flashlight beam that shines a few yards forward in the dark woods, or the tuning fork that sounds the keynote in our soul. It’s the natural recalibrating of our soul’s songlines when we resonatewith the attunement of a real holy friend.
“There are three kinds of friends in this world. An ordinary friend sees only what you are; for that you don’t need a friend.
Then there’s a friend who sees in you what you can be. But in the presence of a real holy friend, you already are!”
– Shlomo Carlebach
How did you come upon InnerView? Did InnerView as you know it and want others to know it begin with your experience of ‘discovering something?” If so, what was that something?
It actually goes back many years when I chose to work as a psychiatric attendant (although I was already qualified as a therapist) so I could relate to the patients outside of a clinical role, thereby removing the inherent power differential of doctor-patient. I had observed that when ‘mental patients’ were faced with those officially treating them, it reinforced their mental patient status and to be a mental patient you must have a mental illness. Patients who were used to being seen through the filter of the medical model responded well to a guileless gaze on the person behind the problem.
It’s as if I would say to them, “OK, you’re in this ‘condition’ and I’m in mine. So here we are. What now?”
How did you integrate InnerView into your own path and practice?
During this period, I was also experiencing the redemptive affirmation of my mentor Tom Francoeur and learning to keep my heart open in the face of pain – both my own and that projected my way. My work in psychiatry exposed me to those had no social masks to protect, no ‘normal’ filters on the use of language, and relatively no identification with ego status (all stripped away by having landed on one of the bottom rungs of society). That left them available for direct soul contact. All one had to do was be available on that level. Practicing InnerView in that setting was no magic cure, with medical treatment still called for, but there was a miraculous sense of human communion beyond any judgment. It planted seeds for the InnerView approach.
What do we need to keep in mind and heart to practice InnerView?
To keep it really simple, it’s about leaving a person feeling good about themselves as a result of any encounter. It also comes back to having some kind of map for the landscape of the soul, since that forms the groundwork for psychospiritual guidance. When it came to clinical casework, I simply applied the same principle of meeting behind the scenes of a problem-saturated story or the dysfunctional personality pattern. Assess and address the best in the person, and then look at the issue from a position of strength. Where there’s a pattern in a life predicament there’s also an antidote in the form of soul qualities being summoned forth to transcend or transform it.
Did it take you a long time to learn and integrate InnerView? What helps you to integrate it into your own path and practice?
It can be a quick study or a long journey, because the nature of any psychospiritual growth is to be continuously unfolding. So the ‘pure’ can always be more purified and the ‘applied’ can always be reapplied at another crossroads in life or to any challenging life situation of one’s own or another’s. What helps me the most is the psychospiritual contributions of writers and artists of all kinds, and staying connected with those on the same wavelength. Also soul talk with fellow soulfarers when we compare notes (called ‘soulstorming’). It’s a blessing to have travelling companions on the evolutionary journey.
Did you have to give something up, or need to overcome personal obstacles to learn and practice InnerView?
Yes, self-will in all its forms has to be relinquished as soul knowledge gains ground. Again, it’s a matter of incremental progress often involving the proverbial ‘two steps forward, one step back’ dance. So infinite patience and endless self-forgiveness need to be practiced. There’s a vision of consolation in every faith tradition which can redeem whatever stories of desolation we tell ourselves or hear from others. There are many situations in which Humpty Dumpty has a great fall and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put Humpty back together again. It’s about maintaining an open heart and unconditional love beyond the point where we can fix ourselves or others. It helps to be held within another’s heart which is that generous!
What means did you use to learn InnerView? How do you consciously choose to use the InnerView approach in your daily life?
It’s a learning process that never stops. Seek with the soul and see with the heart, like my namesake in Little Lord Fauntleroy who only saw the good in his grandfather whom everyone else hated. The InnerView path is about what it takes to stay on the growing edge of soul making. It comes down to making choices between the inner voice of soul or the demands of the ego, and of course there needs to be discernment about which is which. When we clearly see the balance of power between ego and soul in any life situation, that presents the choice each person makes as their own act of faith.
How do you discern what is and what is not InnerView – is it something that is immediately obvious?
You’re now referring to InnerView more as a state of being than a path & practice. In that sense, it’s intuitive recognition of authenticity and genuineness when we unwrap someone’s personality package. When we say that someone or something has ‘soul’ that’s the resonance we feel between the inner qualities and the outer expression of them. Conversely, when someone is being inauthentic, there’s a fake ‘feel’ to it, as if it’s synthetic and not organic.
Is the learning of InnerView something that you can break up into steps? What is the goal? Does InnerView lend itself to something like this?
The InnerView approach is based on a 4Fold Path with matching ‘steps’ on different levels unfolding for both the guides and pilgrims. However the sequence is more like the convergence of a 4-way intersection or a spiral into the centre than linear steps. It’s part of the movement away from probing emotional wounds and instead using the paradigm of a pilgrimage to the sources of our wholeness; from what’s wrong with people to what’s right with persons, from pathology to possibilities, from an ego-based to a soul-grounded perspective on helping and healing. The InnerView approach has more in common with The Wisdom Way of Knowing and the Camino to Santiago de Compostela than psychoanalysis.
What has practicing InnerView done for you? What meaning has it given to your life? Has it become second nature for you?
InnerView has allowed me to embrace a number of dualities or creative tensions in my self-awareness, and discover a higher order synthesis for the journey forward. It has given me new directions and third alternatives at my own crossroads of Judaism/Christianity, psychology/spirituality, career/vocation, individuation/community, and so on. You could call it ‘third nature’ since it takes much perseverence, presence of mind, and the discipline of dual attention to “hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald.
What are the sources of InnerView inspiration for you? Have you met someone who naturally practices InnerView though s/he has never heard of it and may not even understand what you’re talking about if you explained it to them?
InnerView is inspired by the vision of Tom Francoeur. My personal sources of inspiration for the InnerView approach are… the poems of Rumi, the songs of Bob Dylan, inspirational movies from those of Charlie Chaplin to Terrence Malick, the novels of Herman Hesse, the modern fables of Paulo Coelho, the example of Muhammad Ali, The Rule of Benedict, episodes of The Rifleman, Touched by an Angel, and Highway to Heaven, the faith of Etty Hillesum, the poise of Bobby Orr, the theology of Richard Rohr, the insights of Adin Steinsaltz, the transmissions of Reiki… you get the idea.
What if I’m in crisis?
There’s a thread you follow.
It goes among the things that change.
But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die.
And you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
– William Stafford
There is an intangible attunment one receieves from an inspirational mentor, therapist, healer, or spiritual guide; a golden thread that keeps you on your path through the mazes of life passages. When you hold onto your end, it keeps you forever connected with your teacher. You then extend it to others as their mentor, helper, or soul friend. It’s a responsibility you pay forward. That’s just the way it is when you are committed to your path and practice.
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Many thanks & blessings.