(Video Included at the End of this Article)
We are beautiful inside, but we don’t know it. Religion has told us that humans are sinful and only by a miracle can this sinful nature be changed. Freudian psychology has us believing that our basic and unconscious natures are primarily made up of instincts that would result in incest, murder and other crimes if we expressed them.
But Carl Rogers found through years of clinical experience that the innermost core of humans is positive in nature. He said hostile feelings uncovered in therapy were neither the deepest nor the strongest dimension of personality.
As necessary as religion and psychology have been in Western society, they have sometimes given people the wrong message about themselves.
Distinguished early dissent
Over seventy years ago the distinguished psychiatrist, Sacha Nacht, supported the concept of a non-conflictual zone in humans. Early Freudian psychologists around about the time of the birth of modern psychology proposed this.
Mainstream psychoanalysis did not take up the concept. Instead, mainstream focus was on the psychological sickness of conflict and instinctive drives in humans, implying these are at the deepest level of ourselves, and that it is here that we must be treated to be healed. We have a distorted notion of human nature as much shallower and worse than it really is.
Nacht and others proposed a non-conflictual zone of the psyche which pre-exists conflicts or co-exists with them while remaining unaffected. He said that patients would be better able to see their conflicts for what they are – not all-engulfing – if they were conscious of the deeper self and could sometimes anchor themselves to this stable point.
Nacht said good psychotherapy should give the patient the means of establishing contact with that part of human nature which escapes the tumult of impulsions. He wrote:
“In the course of my experience in therapy, I was able to perceive in some of my patients that part of themselves of which they were not wholly conscious and which did not participate in their conflicts but remained outside of the psyche’s tumult, like a still point in a whirlpool of impermanence. I am convinced that this still point exists in every human, that it is innate and, consequently, is in no way dependent on the milieu or circumstances…
If people became conscious of it, it would help them to surmount their conflicts, to go beyond the tumult which incessantly upsets them, and so enter this essentially peaceful zone and anchor themselves to the only permanent point of their being.”
Classical Freud won
The concept of a non-conflictual zone never seemd to take and for most of modern history the classical Freudian model of psychoanalysis dominated. In fact, it is only recently that its dominance has faltered. Perhaps too little, too late.
People still identify with conflicted self. Thoughts and emotions at a conflicted level define who they are. The habitual programs at this shallow level operate in the physical world and created the masks we wear. Our illusion is like seeing ourselves in the mirror with a mask and thinking “that’s my face”.
Our religions and our therapies – and the world in general – only confirm this illusion.
Perhaps the reason for the preoccupation with our sickness and our sinfulness is that it’s good business.
Psychotherapy and religion have made fortunes out of treating people stuck in the shallow level of themselves. The institutions of psychology and religion have not had the insight to know better because that insight has been forgotten. Or the insight has been squashed by the momentum of multi-billion dollar industries built around treating ‘sick and sinful’ people.
No ministers or psychotherapists would have made any money for the last fifty years of the twentieth century if Nacht and his dissenters had gained popularity. The psychiatric pharmaceuticals industry would not exist.
Of course, it’s not that religion and psychology got it all wrong… but if Nacht had gained popularity those decades ago, what would be different today?
If Nacht had gained popularity
Perhaps the western world would be full of meditation and mindfulness gurus teaching people to access the non-conflictual zone. The path to wholeness would be a spiritual one to the deeper self – a journey of happiness, not a therapy for healing sickness.
Only the most severe chemical imbalances might require pills. Medicine men, not spiritual gurus, would be the left-field weirdos.
Religion reflects society. So mainstream Western Christianity might also have looked quite different today if Nacht had won. It would be far more mystical and less dogmatic. The more lovely bride of Christ would be loving and enlightened, open to the beauty deep within all of us, instead of distinguishing one another by the masks we wear.
Perhaps Westerners would have a better understanding of their inner beauty. More of us would be able to find peace at the deeper level of self. There would be less addiction, crime and war.
Turn back the clock
If nothing else, you can turn back the clock for yourself today. You can seek to access your true self and begin a journey to wholeness. You can begin to see the real beauty of your deepest self. Turn back and see the child in you, innocent and pure, before you got accustomed to the mask you now wear.
All you have to do is take the first step: start meditating. Meditation is the way to let go of the pent up conflicts of the mask and open to the child.
Meditation will help you weep for your innocence lost. You will embrace the child that you are and guard it against those lies that abused it. You will handle it gently and wrap it in cotton wool for a while and be healed by tears of compassion for yourself.
People who discover the beauty of the non-conflictual zone, the true self, know that the mystical practices of meditation and mindfulness are the key. These lucky ones know the transformational effects of discovering you are more than your thoughts and emotions ravaged by the whims of your circumstances. Let’s take a leaf out of their books.
I’m not sure if we’ll change the world. But you can definitely change yourself by discovering you’re beautiful inside. And once that happens, you will affect the people around you. And they will affect others.
Perhaps in fifty years, our children will look back and say, “Luckily Nacht won after all.”