Let’s talk a little bit, in simple words, about the organismic theory in gestalt therapy.
So one of the revolutionary concepts of gestalt therapy at the time that was conceived, was to consider directly and clearly, the human being as an organism with basic organismic needs of sleeping, eating, fucking, etc.
This gives two important clues, first, we all have needs at each present moment in our lives that want to be covered. Also, the fact that we are organisms clarifies that we are in interdependency with our environment, since we definitely need it to cover our needs, and if we are not in it we can not survive. By environment, we mean whatever surrounds our organism, the ground and the air that support us, the water, the plants that provide us food, our house, the objects we have in our house, the colors, the shapes, the temperature, other people and other living beings, like animals, insects and so on.
This hopefully brings the realization that all of us, we are in interdependency with one another. And this breaks down the rhetoric of individualism that this System is trying to sell us for so many years:
‘take care only about yourself and your own needs, regardless of the others.’ This is what I name non-ecological awareness.
We can see many disaffects of this behavior humans have followed the latest years. I will set only one significant example: the massive cultivation of the land and the tones of chemicals used for more stable productivity has ended up killing microbes and bacteria that used to live in the ground and keep our intestines safe. Now, as a result, our intestines are in lack of good bacteria with unpleasant results of chemical unbalance in the human organism, resulting in body and mind symptoms ( bad digestion, depression, anxiety ). This is a non-ecological interaction among the human, the ground, and the plant that produces its food. This relationship was dominated by the human need and there was no respect and active listening to mother earth, at the opposite there was violence that backfired to the human itself.
Was that excessive focus on the organismic need worth it?
What was gained and what was lost? Open for (self-)reflections…
So, is it possible for the organism to apply ecological awareness?
Let’s find out!
As organisms in an environment, if we want to cover our needs, we need to be active and aware of them at every moment and flexible enough to be able to do the best we can according to our abilities combined with what we have in the given moment ( needs of our organism and environment provided to satisfy them). An organism aware and active can practice meaningful awareness of itself in the world, in dialogue with the world, and with the awareness of the other and the surrounding. It is not an inwardly focused organism caring only about its needs and separated from the environment (introspection).
Awareness is accompanied by owning, that is, the process of knowing one’s control over, choice of, and responsibility for one’s behavior, feelings, and actions. This is what I call ecological awareness.
Our lives can flourish when we apply this to our environment and so we take care of the ground, the plants, the water, and the air that feed us.
Also, our lives are deeply meaningful when we apply this to our relationships with other humans. To dive into this, I will mention again the indoctrinated concept of individualism that we can feel how it pollutes more and more human relationships. So, when we arrive in the contact boundary with the only purpose to cover our organismic need, since anyway, this System gives us the right to be individualist, we might end up using any mean to arrive in our purpose ( lying, manipulating, violating ), with the unpleasant result for the other; hurting and mistreating the being that covered our need.
Of course, in gestalt, we talk a lot about the response-ability of any person to the events of its life. Though here we talk also, about the other side of the spectrum. For sure we cannot talk about the earth’s response-ability for being poisoned. She still does her best to feed us. Equally, it is worth it to investigate the behavior of the person who acts towards the other.
Every person is in charge of the moral choice he makes. Gestalt therapy can help the person to understand what can be considered moral and what not. Gestalt therapy allows the person to choose and value. So here the moral I present is ecological awareness and behavior.
The person who is aware knows what he does, how he does it, that he has alternatives, and that he chooses to be as he is. So non-ecological actions are not forced, are a choice among others.
Deeply practiced awareness is ecological awareness. The tendency of the organism towards awareness is natural, and every person is part of nature. Awareness of the evidence, the awareness continuum, is an instrument for the person to use intentionally to direct this natural drive for a healthy way of being.
A high healthy level of the human organism can be succeeded among other healthy organisms since we all interact with each other for our organismic needs. So, the healthier the environment the healthier the organism.
This is true considering the ecological behavior towards the earth, and also towards the other humans. We can interact more satisfyingly with humans that feel respected, heard, appreciated for what they are, and loved rather than the opposite. We can build ecological relationships based on love and freedom for all, not only for ourselves. This will come back to us from the environment in the form of love and freedom.
Equally, the food we eat can be our cure when we respect the earth and its resources.
Let’s take a deep breath on this awareness.
Everything is one. We are one. Everything is connected.
Awareness at all levels is the key.
Breath in and out and practice love and freedom here and now.