My Practice

Is it genius or virtue, an iron will or a lack of imagination, the hand of God or Fortuna’s wheel that guides the steps of those who find their way in this world without confusion or struggle? We may envy and resent them, and not without cause. But isn’t it possible that when we lose our way we’re on the verge of discovering a different way? That what seems like a stumbling block might be the threshold to a different reality?

A channel winds its way between the Abyss and the Wall. The channel is a labyrinth branching in countless directions, nearly all of which remain invisible to us. Passing through the channel we might learn something about the contours of the world. We might encounter fellow explorers along the way: some pass in silence; others extend a hand in fellowship; only a few travel with us. We might even meet ourselves along the way.

Many realities interpenetrate the world, emerging, morphing, dissolving. Sometimes without realizing it we pass from one reality to another. Less often we recognize the presence of a portal and its pull on us. Only rarely do we understand that we can resist this pull or accede to it. If we start paying attention we can learn what attracts us to certain realities, what repels us from others, what keeps us unaware of still others. We can become reality travelers, engaging the world and other people in ways we might never have imagined possible.

Selves and realities create each other. Some realities don’t come fully into being until we start living in them. Some versions of ourselves don’t reveal themselves until we enter into a reality where that self makes sense. You can get stuck in a reality that has become toxic or claustrophobic. You try to make yourself succeed, but instead you find yourself alternately crashing into the Wall or teetering on the brink of the Abyss. Everything you do, say, think or feel bounces right back at you like an echo – or else it disappears altogether. All the while other realities, other selves, remain undiscovered, unexplored, uncreated. Instead of trying so hard to get bigger, stronger, more focused, you might want to have a look around, experiment, get more flexible. Maybe instead of bulling your way through this reality you can slip into a different, more enigmatic version of yourself and become a reality traveler.

In my practice I don’t profess to be a problem solver, a healer, a coach. I’m more of a tour guide, an outfitter for those who would explore uncharted realities, examine mysteries, discover the hidden regions of the psyche. Would you like to probe the contours of the Wall, to sound the depths of the Abyss, to distinguish the map from the territory, to unravel the web? All it takes to get started is curiosity.

Reclaim passion and calling.

Discover, create, become.

Get different; make a difference.

Dance the dark edges of the sun.

John Doyle
Ph.D. (Psychology)

Boulder, Colorado USA

$60 per hour; intro session no charge

Explore posts in the same categories: Ktismatics

4 Comments on “My Practice”

  1. samlcarr Says:

    I find your ideas of a practice quite fascinating. How and where does one begin to be “more of a tour guide, an outfitter for those who would explore uncharted realities”, or is that a trade secret?

  2. john doyle Says:

    Hopefully I’ll be able to write more about this process as I see it, Sam. But I think that’s an abstraction that goes beyond the specifics of any particular self, any particular reality that self is trying to discover or create or reveal to others.

    It’s one reason I find fiction and film more informative than psychological research or theory: each story, each movie, must be encountered on its own terms, from the inside. One brings one’s own sensibilities and experiences to the book or film, but I don’t find it particularly rewarding to sit outside the story judging its merits and flaws and relationships to other stories — as if I could achieve an observation point of transcendence above and outside of the story itself. By the same token, I don’t become absorbed into the story, as if I’m a character created by the author. I’m a unique figure in this scene, influenced by but ultimately separate from this alternative reality in which I’m immersing myself. There’s a sense in which the author is showing me something, and I’m in there looking at it with him, but I’m looking with my eyes and not his/hers. Because of that engaged yet separate viewpoint, perhaps I can walk along with the author in this exploration without being hypnotized by the author’s vision, as it were.

    I think there’s an analogy to engaging with individual people. I’ve had experiences with other people, their visions, the realities that shape their perceptions and emotions. But I’m not that interested in compiling these experiences into a set of variables or categories by which I chop up any newly-encountered person into manageable abstract specimens for my expert inspection. I want to see what this person sees, even if I’m not living inside this reality all the time. It’s a vicarious engagement, like reading a story or watching a movie — a meeting place where we can both see some of the same things, yet without my becoming as absorbed in it as the filmmaker and star. If that makes any sense…

  3. samlcarr Says:

    I think that’s a feeling I had when trying to formally study E. lit. there is just so much that analysis and picking apart can do and then it becomes a distraction. The critique takes on its own life and we disengage from the ‘object’ itself. It’s probably even more true of my attempts to ‘exegete’ the bible. The theology takes over even before any real fresh engagement with the text itself has manifested itself. The best teachers were those who stood a bit aloof and didn’t insist that we see precisely what they see.

    But, once one has become ‘engaged’ what’s next? How does one go from being a co-observer to actually stimulating the other into an ‘exploration mode’?

  4. john doyle Says:

    Just as certain kinds of movies and books and music tend to attract audience attention, so do certain personality traits, accomplishments, forms of recognition, and so on. The true “indie” work of art often has a hard time getting noticed; so too does the “indie” person find him- or herself being ignored or discounted. The temptation is to put on a more mainstream performance in order to attract an audience, but once you do that you’ve lost your distinctive vision and voice. I feel that people’s innate curiosity to explore gets pushed aside in this attempt to shape one’s work, and one’s self, in accord with popular tastes. For some the unique vision is clamoring to be shown, the unique voice to be heard. For others the uniqueness, the passion, has been ignored and left to wither for so long that it needs to be nurtured and cultivated.

    In some ways I envy the person whose personality and creativity spontaneously appeal to popular tastes. I just happen to be more attuned to the indie tastes. In talking with someone I’m prone to pick up on the unusual threads of conversation, the off-hand remarks, even the things that aren’t said. I don’t believe I’m forcing people to present themselves to me as oddballs. Rather, I feel that I’m calling something out that might otherwise remain hidden. To look at these hidden things, to give them some room to breathe — I’m surprised that more people aren’t enthusiastic about this sort of engagement with others. But I’ve found that, when given half a chance, people become eager to explore these hidden, unusual, indie aspects of what they see, what they create, who they are.

    Hopefully that’s responsive to your question at least in part, Sam. Do you agree, or is your experience different?

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