Why choose Existential Counseling?
Finding meaning and direction: It is often when we face new difficulties or challenges in our lives such as a life transition or meet a crossroad that we are confronted with existential questions that may include: What is purposeful and meaningful to me? Am I listening to my calling in life? What have I been postponing? What is left undone in my life?
When the existential questions are not addressed: The body and psyche have many ways to communicate and demand our attention. It may start with subtle cues like headaches, body aches, feelings of loneliness, and a sense of longing. Eventually, these cues may escalate in intensity to include chronic illness and pain, elevated levels of anxiety and depression, low energy, various forms of addiction, and undesirable inners states such as apathy, fear, resentment, anger, and even boredom.
Approach to healing: Existential counseling addresses your concerns by exploring the existential questions and leads you to understand how your unique expression is being called, perhaps for the first time. As Emerson eloquently put it, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” As you discover your personal truth and move beyond your current set of outward circumstances, social roles, and old patterning, you can start taking steps to live into your truth. As a result, one’s level of energy and animation begins to rise and a healing takes place from one's inner core - The Self. One can then begin to experience inner states of peace, a new vitality and enthusiasm towards life, and joy regardless of outward circumstances.
Investigating the "me" for self understanding
At the central core of all thoughts, feelings, and intuitions is a “me” that is usually assumed to be the thing that is subject to all this activity. We usually refer to the “me” by a name, associate an age with it, and feel completely identified with it. Few have even questioned what it is. Yet, it is responsible for discerning which beliefs and perceptions we hold about the world and how it works. In essence, we have trusted the most valuable thing we can do, discern our reality, to chance. And we may notice that this “me” is not a single, fixed, and consistent entity. It changes its mind, its mood changes, its age changes, its appearance changes, its level of inspiration and motivation changes, and so on. In fact, it is hard to come up with anything that doesn’t change about “me”. So, it is interesting that we trust such a changing chameleon with our most valuable function – how we see the world.
Learning how to learn
True learning does not come from intellectualizing a set of ideas and concepts, rather it comes from exploring and discovering for oneself. In much the same way, a child learns about the world from first hand exploration. For example, a child discovers by looking, touching, tasting, listening, etc. to get a full sense of the subject of interest in order to directly experience a particular phenomenon. This experiencing can never be adequately described nor understood through words alone. So, true learning involves direct interaction and direct relating to integrate the experience. One does this by trying on an idea and observing for oneself what happens when using it in one's daily life. It is not a matter or agreeing or disagreeing with it intellectually, but rather testing and experimenting in the world of sensations like mixing chemicals in a test-tube to see what transpires. Additionally, one doesn't test by having a preconceived idea of what will happen next. Rather true learning comes from a place of not knowing what will happen so that one is open to experiencing all the impacts the test has to offer. If one were satisfied with experiencing a chocolate eclair by simply looking at and touching the hard exterior surface with the notion that this was sufficient learning, one would miss the taste and sensation of the cool, creamy center which are the primary characteristics and the main attraction of an eclair. Similarly, one's true nature and available states of well-being can only be known from in-depth, direct and personal exploration. Otherwise, one simply has an attractive set of ideas that can be used for conversation, but they still lack depth, essence and real understanding.