Tami Simon, from Sounds True recently recorded an interview with Dr. John Welwood, a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, and practicing student of Buddhism and Eastern contemplative psychology. Welwood is an author whose books include Journey of the Heart and Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships, and with Sounds True he has created the audio learning program Conscious Relationships.
The conversation ranges across some really interesting material, including Welwood’s understanding of the relationship between psychological work and the spiritual journey, and about committed relationships and the most common issue(s) that couples present in couples therapy. (Duration - 61 minutes).
In the 1980s John Welwood emerged as a major figure in the leading-edge fields of transpersonal psychology and East/West psychology. The former director of the East/West Psychology Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, he is currently associate editor of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. He trains psychotherapists in "psychotherapy in a spiritual framework" and "the healing power of unconditional presence" and leads workshops throughout the world about psychospiritual work and conscious relationship.
There is much in the interview that is both insightful and fascinating, but in many ways is also very useful. Sadly I haven’t found a transcript, so will be listening to it a couple more times. It was interesting to see that Harville Hendrix has written recommendations for his books. Hendrix first introduced me to the notions of “conscious” and “unconscious” relationships and ways of relating.
You’ll find the Sounds True conversation here. Meantime, here’s an excerpt from an adaptation of a talk he gave in 2008:
“…In the end, to love another requires dropping all our narcissistic agendas, movies, hopes and fears, so that we may look freshly and see “the raw other, the sacred other” — just as he or she is. This involves a surrender or perhaps defeat, as in George Orwell’s words about being “defeated and broken up by life.” What is defeated here, of course, is the ego and its strategies, clearing the way for the genuine person to emerge, the person who is capable of real, full-spectrum contact. The nobility of this kind of defeat is portrayed by Rilke in four powerful lines describing Jacob’s wrestling match with the Angel:
Winning does not tempt that man
For this is how he grows:
By being defeated, decisively,
By constantly greater beings.
In relationship, it is two partner’s greater beings, gradually freeing themselves from the prison of conditioned patterns that bring about this decisive defeat. And as this starts reverberating through their relationship, old expectations finally give way, old movies stop running, and a much larger acceptance than they believed possible can start opening up between them. As they become willing to face and embrace whatever stands between them— old relational wounds from the past, personal pathologies, difficulties hearing and understanding each other, different values and sensitivities— all in the name of loving and letting be, they are invited to “enter into reality.” Then it becomes possible to start encountering each other nakedly, in the open field of nowness, fresh and unfabricated, the field of love forever vibrating with unimagined possibilities…”