I met Nishant for the first time in late 2011. Since then, Nishant has been a therapist and teacher to me. But more than both of those things, he has been a friend.
During a health challenge last year, Nishant and I met once a week. He guided me and believed in me every step of my healing journey. And I feel forever grateful. I cannot think of any moment together with him that I did not feel completely listened to and accepted.
During this time, I often felt sad, angry, helpless and very, very afraid. But throughout each session, Nishant gave the precious gifts of holding the space with calmness, acceptance and Presence. These gifts keep on giving today. He helped me open my heart and know that by simply Being and relaxing into the present, there is nothing we are not big enough to welcome.
His relaxation and openness as a counsellor and human being inspire me to relax and listen to my inner voice, to dare to trust my intelligence and to know my own heart. And I remind myself of this every day.
A few weeks ago I sat down with Nishant and we talked for awhile about being a seeker, therapy, Being and Presence and why we have trouble with Trust.
Here is the 1st of 6 parts of some of the words we exchanged. Every day this week I will publish an excerpt of our interview.
The final part will be released on Friday, October 4th, the first day of Nishant’s 4-day Presence Training right here in Stockholm.
Please tell me about your way of being a therapist, which has been such a huge help to me.
My way of being a therapist is different than most.
Most therapy focuses on “How can I work out the rough edges or fragmentation within my psyche so I can live a better life and be a more productive worker or husband or citizen or make more money or have a good relationship?”
My basic training was how to acknowledge all of the roughness of the psyche just for what it is and somehow penetrate through that into a ground place where you realize, “I’m not the psyche, I’m a Being.”
In the Osho community, where I started as a therapist, you learn to work with the psyche in a way that opens people up to the various experiences in the psyche such as fear, anger, sadness, hurt, isolation and grief.
Feelings such as fear, anger, sadness, hurt and isolation can be doorways you can work with to get into another aspect of your consciousness we can call Being or Presence.
This Being doesn’t have the same character of limitation of past, present or future; of being wounded , being small or being hurt as the psyche does. From this place of Being, you can realize your connection to a field of other people and a field of consciousness.
The tradition of western psychology is based on the assumption that you are a person and this person has a mother a father and beliefs and an unconscious and a super conscious and superego and went to school and has a history.
And in that, the self that you think you are is the manager of the bad guys within you and promotes the good guys in you. That self tries to make your parents happy and make other people happy to somehow get through a successful life. And there are different skills and tools for helping that self to manage itself.
If you come from the meditative tradition, it’s a very different picture. From the meditative tradition, the self isn’t as fixed or solid and real as it seems.
If you’re a meditator you realize there are 20 different selves every day, depending on what kind of stress you’re in or who you meet.
The sense of self is a manifestation of the psyche that tends to show up in certain circumstances and disappear in others.
I have a client who’s a banker and when he goes to work he feels like he’s 45 years old and has a pretty good picture of what banking’s about.
But when he meets a difficult employee or gets a critical email from his supervisor, he has the feelings of being 8 years old and back in school again and that’s a new self.
The banker self is pushed on the shelf and this other emotional self takes over and a lot of his reactions are based on feeling like he’s 8 years old and the boss is big and he’s small.
You can ask, who’s the real self here. It just comes and goes like this all day long. And when he goes home at night to meet his wife, there is a whole other self that shows up. There is always change in this field of the psyche.
And then in the East, the whole emphasis is on,
“What is it that doesn’t change in this field of everything changing? Is there something that really is home-based?”
If you meditate, the answer is Yes.
There is a sense of Being that has a quality of awareness and of Presence which can accommodate being happy and can accommodate feeling sad, of being successful, all kinds of difficult experiences without collapsing into being a 4 year-old or a 15 year-old.
The trouble with having a self is that it’s always insecure.
If you pay much attention, which most people don’t, you always feel alone. You always feel a little bit separate. Insecure.
The natural reaction to all of that is to try to make yourself stronger. More solid. More secure. To somehow prove to yourself that you are real and good.
And having worked with people at all different ages, some are very successful, some are moderately successful and others unsuccessful.
Nobody has been able to do anything that proves to themself that they are real and good. None of them have been able to feel secure.
It looks that way to people on the outside but it never feels that way on the inside.
Nishant Matthews is a therapist, teacher and author currently living near Stockholm, Sweden. For contact and for more information, www.nishantmatthews.com