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blog - Shannon Simonelli

Active Imagination and the Transcendent Function - Part 2

See Part 1 here.

We tend to be binary creatures. Do we like “this” or “that”? Is “this” the safest way or is “that”? Our brains learn through binary processes, and our ego tends to process this way as well. Polarity. Are we included or excluded, cool or a dork, healthy or ill? On and on it goes.

An example of polarity I see a lot in my work and have experienced in my own growth process is one of Inflation and Deflation. The painful swing between experiencing yourself, an idea, activity or relationship from Inflation as: ‘the best’, the ‘most magical’ or from Deflation as: ‘the worst’, the most painful’, an ‘utter failure’. You get the point.

This pendulum swing between one polar extreme to the other is the painful dance of our Ego. One I’m working with at this stage in life is: I’m healthy, in fact I’m healthier and more vital than most people my age (Inflation). The other side is: I’m achy, my joints hurt, in fact I hurt more than many people my age and will never be free of this burden that steals my easy mobility (Deflation).

I don’t live in either of these places but know they exist along the edges of my awareness. The bigger truth, the transcendent awareness, is what I also like to call the Divine Third.

Of course, we can generally, rationally see we are neither the inflation nor the deflation. I am not the healthiest, most vital and I am not the most decrepit, joint-pained either. We can talk ourselves off this ledge pretty readily and remind ourselves we are somewhere in between.

However, the Divine Third invites us into something more than just finding the relief of the middle road. Even the term Divine Third is inviting and relieving to me. When we use any of the tools that support inner awareness and connect us to our wholeness we are opening to the wisdom of the Divine Third (see diagram).

For example, when I move with the polarity of healthy or decrepit, I discover sensory awareness, and alive inner imagery. I find that I am not only living on a moving spectrum with the two end points of vitality and pain, but more poignantly, I get in touch with the Divine Third. My vulnerability and ultimately my vastness. I’m aware of the fleeting nature of this life. I feel the enduring nature of my Soul or Spirit essence, remembering I’m more than this body. I feel tenderness towards our aging bodies and the eventual death we all face. The more I sit with this I find freedom, gratitude, and a profound softening of my heart. Tenderness and vulnerability in this human existence. In this Divine Third, this transcendence, I am no longer in the grip of the polarity, but brought into a deeper, richer truth about my experience.

This feels like the process of maturing. Learning to be with what is, to be curious, to open to more than what appears to be. Learning to see ‘the rest of the story’. The Divine Third, inviting us to remember and know the tenderness and vastness of our own wholeness.

~Shannon Simonelli Ph.D., ATR

Shannon has her doctorate in Imaginal Psychology and Creative Arts Therapy. She has practiced, studied, and facilitated over 15,000 hours of Authentic Movement and uses it in her work. She is the co-founder of the NeuroImaginal Institute and founder of the Luminous Life Maps system. Shannon brings 25 years of depth work to private practice and to the dance floor, embodied creative transformation is her joy and true gift. All Shannon’s work is anchored in a deep trust of the body, the human spirit and the mystery that holds us all. http://www.ShannonSimonelli.com

Please reach out if you would like to get in touch: ShannonSimonelli@gmail.com


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