Home Societal / Political Community The Wonder of Interpersonal Relationships V: Coherence

The Wonder of Interpersonal Relationships V: Coherence

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Extraverts yearn for (and look for) sanctuaries because they are a place to refrain from action or recover from action. For the Extravert, even more than the Introvert, sanctuary enables us to heal, repair, re-group, recover. While we are resting our bodies, minds, emotions, and spirits, we often also heal. Extraverts who have been defeated also come to sanctuary. Perhaps, there is a renewed interest in sanctuary because we are, in some sense, a defeated society.

Sanctuary is clearly and historically a place for defeat. That is where you go to lick your wounds to either come out and fight again or adjust to your defeat. The heiau (city of refuge) in Hawaii was established as a place to stop and rest in time of war. The King’s peace in Medieval Europe accomplished the same purpose. The rule against killing within a Cathedral or church (Murder in the Cathedral), or at other holy places reflects the same issue. When an Extraverted politician is defeated, or a business leader is fired, they go to a sanctuary to pull their life together again.  While defeat or firing provides an opportunity for grieving and regret, it also can be a place for renewal and re-invention.

Healing the Heart-Sick Soul

Sanctuary enables all of us—regardless of personality type, to find our deep center and reorient to our own deeper compass again. At the heart of sanctuary for many people is the sense of a place, time or situation where the conditions of ordinary living are suspended for a time. This makes sanctuary different from all other parts of life in time, space, and situation. In these suspended moments, the demands of ordinary life are set aside as are the rules of ordinary life. The heavy weight of blame, guilt, danger, limitations, and sanctions is lifted. Several uplifting forces are added, including (certain kinds of) freedom, openness, possibility, empowerment.

In sanctuary there is the real possibility for renewal and healing at a deep level: nurturance, body, mind, interpersonal, spiritual, situational. There is a real possibility for introspection: seeing oneself as one is (Introverted introspection). There is the opportunity to see a situation as it is and see other people as they are (Extraverted extrospection). There is a real possibility for creative new thinking, being open to new possibilities, being able to envision oneself in new possibilities. There is a possibility of some kind of coming home to one’s own truth. As Jospeh Campbell proposed, there can be a kind of spiritual “coming to oneself”.

A Sacred Vision of Coherence

The spiritual domain is to be found in all communities. After all, we are now living (by anthropological standards) only a few minutes beyond the hunter/gatherer era in our evolution—and hunter/gatherers lived and worked in a world that was saturated with spiritual forces and entities. Many forms of animism were embraced by the hunter/gatherers that were founded on the belief that these forces and entities are embedded in the physical environment traversed by these people. In contemporary societies the spiritual and sacred are embedded in the meaning which people assign to their work.

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