Therapy in times of quarantine

A young woman sits on the other side of the screen, a bare wall behind her. Her voice is interrupted because of a slow connection. I cannot always hear what she says. She often asks me to repeat what I say.

Yet, there is a palpable presence that she has. The eagerness to open her heart out to another human being. The fear of being judged and rejected, when seen at the core of who she is. The wish to turn away from this encounter, to take conversation in directions more comfortable, more habitual. Yet, the returning wish to communicate, to have real, human contact.

These present themselves as an energy, a movement of consciousness that is carried through words and images, but is not identical to them. The tiny, shining star in the dark sky is only a passage to the tremendous light and energy that is actually the star. It is a visual, sensorial passage to something far more intense than itself, a passage to infinity that has expressed itself as matter. The often broken images and words on screen are a passage, however imperfect, to the being of the person on the other side of the screen.

One values the reality behind the passage more, when the passage becomes tenuous and weak, as a computer screen is.

The presence behind the passage is who she is. The voice will change over the years. The body will change. The presence, at once ever-changing, yet continuous, will remain as a signature of the person.

We work with this presence. We offer it a space to come alive and flow, to express its uniqueness. It is where we truly live, where we truly contact another human being, and where we defy the bounds of physicality.

It is where we can truly answer the question – who am I? Who am I, when I am afraid – and who am I, when I am filled with love? In presence there are answers of no standard form and no expected shape. Yet, there are answers, and a permeating freedom that seeps into every nook of our being, day by day, year by year. A freedom from compulsions, a freedom from fear, a freedom to truly live.

In quarantine, the virus having bound our relationships to our screens, our attention is chiseled, softened, made receptive to the other’s presence.

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