Khalid Hussain (khalid_hussain) wrote,
Khalid Hussain

Gestalt exercise and the sword of light

In therapy last week, the therapist suggested trying a Gestalt exercise having to do with increasing a sense of emotional and psychological safety at work. I thought, "Here we go: here comes the steel pyramid or the magic pink bubble."

The first thing she asked me to do was to ground myself by planting my feet firmly on the ground and "allowing" my "energy" to move downward toward (and into) the earth. What I noticed from this is that my chest, back, and shoulders--essentially my upper body--initially felt somewhat abandoned and unsupported. It seems that, when I'm not feeling secure in an environment, I tend to concentrate energy in my upper body and I also tend to contract inward and upward from the environment, effectively shrinking away from my environment.

Once I had established a grounded orientation, she asked me to notice if any images or feelings came to me as I imagined the idea of increased safety. The first thing that came to me was "La ilaha il'Allah." Soon after that I began to sense the presence of a light-filled angel (Michael?) that then morphed into what appeared to be downward-pointing sword made of light. That was the image that stabilized.

It then occurred to me that my NAJ teacher from Atlanta had given me the name Khalid, which he identified as the Companion who was dubbed, "The Sword of Islam." That brought forth a somewhat emotional response from me.

After the exercise, we discussed the experience a bit. I told her that I was glad to have experienced an exercise that appeared to harmonize with the spiritual path on which I currently see myself. Typically, in the past, it seems that visualization exercises have been imposed from the outside, leaving me feeling that they were unconnected with how I tended to see myself in other contexts. She said that the difference this time was because the images had come from me. Perhaps, but in any event I complimented her on her skill in comparison with the rather formulaic approaches to visualization and affirmation to which I had been subjected in the past.

This image rekindled an interest in Tarot. Naturally, the first image that I thought of was the Ace of Swords. I researched that in relation to a few of the Tarot decks that I own. A common theme that emerged was that Swords relate to the element of Air, symbolizing the intellect. The Ace of Swords in particular has to do with proper versus destructive uses of the intellect. That seems appropriate for an academic environment.



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