Life is difficult for most of us. The promise that psychotherapy has held from its beginnings is the easing of some of that difficulty, the improvement of the quality of life we had before we began working on ourselves. Various people have attempted to change the lot of humankind, one of its cultures, or individuals through various methods: war, subjugation, the Golden Rule, benign government, genocide, love, political activism of various kinds, religion, and more. Although a few of the results of these attempts have been positive, the human proclivities towards acting out, violence, dominance, cruelty, and the like certainly continues to be with us. These proclivities wreak increasingly horrendous destruction as technology becomes increasingly capable of supporting them.
We have tried, in many ways, to better humanity’s lot through political and social means. We have too often failed because our approaches did not take the human psyche into account. Even passive resistance, whether in India under Gandhi or in the United States under Martin Luther King, has not fully vanquished the enemies of equality and interconnectedness. More biases continually come to light along with more people who hurt others with them; the same battle is fought again and again by different armies. I feel despair when I see this seemingly endless repetition of violence and abuse.
There is one method for addressing these social ills that has not really been attempted successfully because we haven’t had the tools. This method has tremendous potential both in sociopolitical and personal terms. It is the systematic removal from people of the causes and origins of their greed, their need for power over others, their acting out of their rage and violence through rape, homicide, totalitarian government, war, and other forms of cruelty, of their enraging sense of helplessness and hopelessness in life. That method is the quick, painless energetic removal of the traumas and traumatic patterns that cause such destructive behavior.
Each person who completes an Advanced Integrative therapy has lastingly removed or transformed many of the traumas and traumatic patterns, the negative beliefs and qualities, the complexes and negative archetypal constellations that are the seeds from which individual and then collective violence grows. The potential of AIT treatment is tremendous; each person who has been thoroughly treated with it has, by virtue of removing the past emotion, physical sensation, destructive behavior and belief—the causes of suffering– transformed their suffering into a state of peaceful presence. This means that the past’s toxic psychological poisons are no longer the lens through which they experience the present. And fantasies no longer substitute for a present larded with the past’s painful or enraging emotions.
We feel peaceful and content to the degree that we can sit together in a state of presence. When we are content and peaceful we are unlikely to make war or abuse prisoners, unlikely to beat our spouses or rape our children, or to rob or maim because, being fully in the present, we feel peaceful enough to discover more productive ways of accomplishing our ends. And to be content means to be detached, as the Buddha said, from both suffering and pleasure.
When the Buddha arose from the meditation that resulted in his enlightenment, he offered the Four Noble Truths. Here are the first three:
All is suffering.
Suffering is caused by desire and attachment.
If one can eliminate desire and attachment, one can eliminate suffering (cite)
The reason that the thorough removal of traumatic causes and post-traumatic symptoms can have such far-reaching and positive effects is that its ultimate result is the removal of desire and attachment and the concomitant development of the individual’s positive qualities.
Please don’t read this as another tired piece of ideology or dogma. That’s not what it is. Read it as a vision or mission statement: that psychological health, presence, and contentment can by themselves improve the world. Each person who achieves such a state affects those around him, and some of those people go on to AIT therapy in turn and achieve that state as well, affecting those around them in turn. The ripple effect takes peaceful change further and further. This is a much different paradigm for change than sociopolitical revolution or evolution, but it is the only certain one I know. And I know because my clients and those of other AIT therapists exemplify it every day.
AIT is an integrative transpersonal psychotherapy, but it is implicitly also a non-violent method of sociopolitical change that requires simply that people be treated with AIT. The rest can follow as the night the day.