It is an axiom of Focusing that nothing inside gets healed or changed when we argue with it, preach to it, punish it, set goals for it or do any of the other typical things done to “unacceptable” thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The only process that has a chance to heal or change them is to let them inwardly be, and for the central I to extend to them listening, acceptance and empathy. Yet this process has been used, not just to listen to and heal “nice” feelings like sadness and guilt, but addictions and sexual compulsions, murderous rages-the inner parts people have that make them feel they can’t trust their entire inner selves, that lead them to believe there really are parts of themselves that are wicked, prone to evil, “naturally” cruel and selfish, un-Godly, untrustworthy. Brought back into the light of compassion, into the family of the Self, these parts reveal themselves not as devils and monsters, but as protectors and guardians of the Self’s very existence and integrity. Partly for this reason, Cornell sometimes describes her work as “the Radical Acceptance of Everything.”
Could it be true that there is no id, no fundamental Devil Within, no yetzer hara, or evil impulse, as the Talmud calls it? And if we don’t have such a thing inside us, does that mean nobody does? Or do some people have it-and then who knows who they are, who decides? And if nobody has it, then isn’t that the height of New Age softness and fuzziness, denying that evil and sin exists, glibly calling it “sickness” or “ignorance” and tritely claiming that “everything happens for a reason”? If there is no fundamental evil impulse, then what is the nature of evil? And where, of course, is God?
Thoughts on the Radical Acceptance of Everything.
I’m very interested in Focusing lately. Ann Weiser Cornell’s version of it especially.
There is a lot of great information on it at focusingresources.com.