In his unique approach to anthroposophical psychology (or "psychosophy"), William Bento views imbalances of the human soul in an experiential and human way. Basing his views on the work of Rudolf Steiner, Bento looks not only at the human body, soul, and spirit, but also at the way the whole environment of physical phenomena, life forces, and spirit beings affects us as individuals. Going well beyond our immediate, earthly surroundings, the author considers the cosmic effects of sun, planets and stars, offering a holistic view of the human soul.
This book is a valuable and accessible addition to the field of anthroposophical psychology and to the study of Spiritual Science in general.
William R. Bento has worked within the fields of human development for over thirty years. His unique approach to consultation consists of a synthesis of mainstream psychological and sociological thought with an approach to spiritual science. He is a recognized pioneer and published author in the emerging disciplines of Psychosophy (soul wisdom) and Astrosophy (star wisdom). He travels extensively as a speaker, teacher, and consultant, and currently is engaged in a doctoral program at The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California.
In the first part of Blessed by Illness, the author traces the history of our changing concept of healing, from the so-called temple sleep of ancient Egypt--when spiritual science tells us that human beings still had a living connection with the spiritual hierarchies--through the herbal lore of ancient Greece and the healings of Christ, to the rise of modern medicine, based primarily on treating symptoms.
The practice of modern medicine focuses merely on removing discernable symptoms and ailments. The author, however, asserts that this does not really heal at all. Rather, true healing considers the whole human being. And, to do this, doctors must learn the language of our natural, healing life forces, which affect not only the body, but also nature and the greater cosmos. From this perspective, illness is actually a gift, a blessing that urges both patient and doctor to work together with our illnesses for the sake of something infinitely greater--true healing.
Blessed by Illness is a powerful introduction to "alternative" methods of healing.
Perhaps more than anywhere else, Steiner's enthusiasm and familiarity with the subject is in evidence here. Steiner describes many specific illnesses and their treatments and how doctors must develop their ability to diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments based on their own inner capacities.
What does he find? "The soul as an inner world participates in two worlds: an external world and...a still deeper, interior world." The soul is revealed as a mediator between the outer physical world (including the body) and the inner core of the human being, the "I." Through its intentional relationship to these two worlds, an ever-shifting stream of dynamic polarities continually courses through the soul: love-hate, joy-sorrow, pleasure-displeasure, desire-satisfaction, laughing-weeping, life-consciousness.
In a compact and lively style, other soul processes are similarly examined, including doubt, volition, mental images, perceiving, judgment and decision, spatial-temporal experience, and sexual identity. The language of dreams is discussed and ordered into four types. The expressive capacity of the soul in speech, posture, temperament, and character is treated with subtlety.
The author also proposes another dimension to psychology in the notion of the soul's drive for development, which unfolds through the Goethean laws of polarity, enhancement, and metamorphosis. He paints a profound picture of the higher goal of human life: the soul's gradual liberation from physical bonds to become an organ for the Self, always balanced by the soul's inclination to become an organ for the body. Along this unfinished journey, toward a full human existence, the author depicts the roles of love, wisdom, and inner death and resurrection. As the author points out, there is an area where psychology and philosophy of life overlap and cannot be entirely separated.