Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
Higher Skyward You Do Aspire. . .
Deeper Grounded You Need Desire
A Supportive Meditation
© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[Originally published in Medical Hypnoanalysis Journal, 7 (2), June 1992, pages 70-73.]
When people who are in the midst of a conscious individuation process and are centering it on a spiritual plane enter my practice almost without exception there is little, if any, groundedness in the practical contingencies of day-to-day, concrete reality. If this observation is generally accurate, then it is my intention to point out the unworkability of such an approach and to propose a balancing that can enhance the quality of the upward motion by valuing and respecting the downward movement.
To lightheartedly soar skyward in exploration of alternative forms of consciousness, without structure, protection, and grounding in reality, is risky at best. We all have seen spiritual seekers faced with a myriad of collisions and problems with their environment, including homelessness, medical and psychiatric hospitalizations, poverty, victimization, addictions, co-dependency as well as toxic religious and cult group enmeshments. It is not a pretty list, nor a pretty picture, that such suffering evokes.
Applying Occam's razor, it simply makes sense that the "metaphysical" realm can most safely and efficaciously be approached when the individual's life is solidly and realistically planted in the "physical" realm. Each realm enhances the other, providing a balance not unlike the Eastern concepts of Yin and Yang.
The following is an imagery that can help create a balance and harmony of the fundamental dimensions of living.
Allow yourself to be in a very comfortable place. . . taking a wonderfully deep, freeing breath. . . as you gently close your eyes. . . hold it and scan your body for any tension or tightness. . . and simply let this go. . . as you comfortably relax. . . That's right. . . Take in another deep relaxing breath. . . while noticing any remaining knots of holding. . . and release them. . . let them gently drain out of you. . . really fade away. . . Good.
Smoothly, tenderly, quickly and easily transport and project yourself to a lovely place in nature- Your Healing Place. Be there in the late spring or early summer, feeling absolutely delightful. You may notice, given your spiritual and metaphysical interests, that your head and heart seem to be high in the clouds or sky or on a mountain top. Let your True Self, that part of you that is always there to wisely guide, support and love you, find just the right metaphor, image or symbol for you. . . Take a moment and let this come into clear vision. . .
Now, it is a matter of finding your strong legs and solid feet that can powerfully ground you "in, but not of," this learning laboratory of earthly life. As your True Self guides you to recognize which of the following suggestions most resonate within you, visualize and feel your sturdy legs and firm, stalwart feet, securely and squarely planted on the ground of workable daily living, effectively dealing with the realities of life. . .
Excellent grounding comes with being attuned to your senses and body. . . whether it be in attending to the here and now. . . offering yourself good self-care, loving care of your body. . . in being very present in a conversation. . . in healthy physical exercise and activities. . . in communing with nature on a walk or hike in absolute quiet and stillness. . . in feeling the warmth of the sunlight on your face, and your body. . . the texture of the ground beneath your feet. . . the gentle breeze blowing across the little hairs of your arms. . . Ahh. . .
And you can further feel your roots by putting your hands or body into the ground. . . whether it be by gardening, in preparing the soil, planting seeds, tending new shoots, pulling weeds, transplanting plants, or in reaping the bounty of fruits and vegetables, grains and nuts, and fragrant flowers of your labor. . . or in building and regularly turning the compost pile. . . or in changing diapers if the opportunity is available. . . or in recycling aluminum cans, glass bottles, newspapers and plastic containers. . . or in being a good earth steward by conserving our earth's bountiful, yet limited, natural resources. . .
The balancing in the physical realm may take the form of giving yourself permission to feel all of your feelings. . . yes, the joyous and loving, the humorous and uplifting. . . as well as the uncomfortable feelings of anger and hurt, grief and guilt. . . and to let all of these natural and normal emotions be given some healthy and constructive channels for expression through you. . . perhaps in the powerful release of hard physical work or physical exercise. . . perhaps in a personal sharing with a special person or in your private journal. . . To go for some real physical and emotional release. . . and then again. . . really allow these emotions to flow through and find their own level. . . and being completed, they can naturally fade. . . and you reap the kernel of emotional truth, the pearl of wisdom that was hidden inside that vibrant, moving, feeling experience. . .
Grounding in the physical world may take the form of establishing very necessary structures that will truly allow greater personal freedom. . . such as cultivating the discipline of using a day, week and month planner. . . writing in a daily diary or journal. . . making agendas for all your meetings. . . being punctual, on time, to show mutual respect. . . and making it a habit to look people in the eye and making appropriate personal contact, one human being to another. . .
And you can further secure steady footing by developing realistic, protective policies that assure safety for yourself and others in living. . . being sure to watch peoples' actions and determine whether they are trustworthy individuals or not. . . being certain of your goals and purposes, assets and challenges. . . and developing the life-affirming and life protecting structures for the highest good for all concerned, mainly being able to say "No" and feel good and loving about doing this.
As you take all that is most appropriately resonant. . . and promise yourself to make it real in daily actions, let your True Self offer you your visualized strong legs. . . and stalwart feet. . . firmly planted, squarely and securely, on your solid ground. . . Linger here. . . as long as you desire. . . (long pause)
And now. . . at your own speed. . . come gently back to being fully in touch with the world, dealing ever more effectively with whatever reality brings you. . . Back to full waking, alert consciousness. . . opening your eyes as I count from 5 to 1. . . Feeling wonderful, like coming out of a refreshing summer nap. . . Remembering all that will serve you from this experience, and releasing and forgetting all that is best for you to release and forget. . . 5. . . 4. . . 3. . . 2. . . 1. Fully alert, awake, refreshed, and GROUNDED.
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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