Goethean Psychology is grounded on an understanding of the threefold relationship of body, soul and spirit, outlined by Rudolf Steiner’s Spiritual Science (Anthroposophy)
To develop as a human being is to allow a fuller birth of the experience of “I am”.
Neither nature nor nurture are the ultimate defining forces in our lives, but the spiritual entity we experience as “I am”. It is through our common experience of “I am” that we recognise one another as human.
I become aware that I am aware.
I live within feelings but I am not those feelings.
I live within habits of thinking feeling and action, but I am not those habits
I live within a body, but I am not my body.
The reason for the Earth’s existence is to give the human being full self-consciousness, the “I am” (Rudolf Steiner. Gospel of St John)
“The experience we call the ‘I-am’ experience is the universal healing medicine..….. it provides certainty, creativity, and solidarity, and dissolves what comes from egotism.
From it, the knowledge arises that nothing can happen to me: I am safe, completely independent of circumstances, opinions, successes or failures.
I find my spiritual roots.”
(Georg Kuhlewind. The Light of the ‘I’. page 39)
Goethean Psychology uses gesture.
Gesture speaks to us more deeply than words, more deeply than pictures. More than 70% of what we communicate to one another is through gesture – our body language and our intonations of voice – whatever the actual words being spoken. Through the observation and creation of gestures, we can become more deeply aware of our inner life of feeling than we do when just talking about them. Since the medium is not words, we can explore our reactions and habits of feeling without having to divulge outwardly any personal content. This allows us to take full responsibility for our inner life, in freedom, and the spirit of our individuality is engaged, not compromised.
Furthermore, we can explore situations we are uncomfortable with, such as those that make us anxious or stressed in our daily lives. We can discover new resources with which to face them, just as we can through painting, modelling or any artistic medium. We then become more present in ourselves, and therefore more available as parents, partners or colleagues, more easily in touch with others, through a deepening in our power of Empathy. We find we can respond to situations that we used to just react to.
We become more present, as ‘Captain of our Ship’.
When we react to outer events, we cloud this experience with confused and sometimes powerful feelings. When we can observe our ’emotional body’ and bring meaning and understanding to it, we no longer ‘see through a glass darkly’, but become fully present within it. The language of the emotional body is not words, but gestures and sounds (“it wasn’t so much what s/he said as how s/he said it” expresses this reality very well).
With ‘Goethean Psychology’, gesture can be used as a way to safely explore some common daily confusions. Since gestures, not words, are the medium, each participant’s experience is private, no intimacies need be divulged, yet the recognition of our shared inner dynamics can lead us to feel more deeply in touch with ourselves and, therefore, with one another. It is also an effective inner preparation for any meditative practice.