I recently attended the ‘16th International Intensive Workshop on Systemic Resolutions’ in Bernried, Germany. One of the themes of this conference was “heimat” a German word which we translate, not completely satisfactorily, as “homeland” or “home”.
One of the recurring things that people say when they talk about finding the Psychosynthesis Trust is that it felt like “coming home”, and that even years after completing a training course, the Trust has a place of “home” in their hearts.
Home or heimat can mean many things, and there are different factors that evoke a sense of homeland.
Home can be a geographical location, a native place or perhaps a place of origin like your parents’ home, the location where your childhood memories come from.
We can also think about home as a connection to community, or an intellectual or spiritual sense of inner home, a place where "I understand and feel understood."
Of course home can also be a legal right derived from citizenship, and for people fleeing or ejected from a country, stateless with no civil rights, then home may simply be where the food or shelter is.
What sense of home, or homeland do people get at the Trust? The organisation can temporarily stand in as a screen to project our family, school or other experiences of institutions onto, but once we’ve worked through these projections and harvested that learning, what are we left with?
There’s something about the teaching and sharing that happens in learning groups at the Trust that supports the home connection. Eckhart Tolle says, “to love is to recognize yourself in another”, and when you hear the commonality of human experience expressed by someone and recognise yourself in it, then a sense of belonging to the human race arises, and with that a welcoming of self and other.
So the Trust is a place where people seek to understand themselves and their peers, and also a place where 'meaning making' is done. Victor Frankl wrote, “the home of the soul is meaning”, and the soul is also a place where we register and sense our longing.
Sometimes home can be a place of longing, something that doesn’t exist in the moment but is part of the past, a place we have left, or a destination of yearning that is over the horizon. In this way, “heimat” can become a quest or a creative search for meaning, and in many ways this is what draws people to the Trust.
When we feel welcomed on earth and at home in our own skin we’re connecting to “heimat”. When we feel our belonging we have more access to our unique place in the whole, greater access to life, greater access to inner resources, insight, love and will. At home, as Maya Angelou says, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
Matt is Programme Director at the Trust, a systemic coach, facilitator and therapist. Alongside his work at the Trust Matt works with systemic constellations in group workshops and one-to-one sessions, applying the work to organisational and family systemic issues.
With thanks to Diana Drexler for her exploration of this theme in Bernried.