Recently as per one of my friends' suggestion I started to read Irvin D. Yalom's book entitled The Gift of Therapy, which now I would like to introduce to all of you. This is not a light book on coaching, since it contains all the most useful therapeutic methods of the therapist gathered during his 45 years of practice. From the short, practical stories both beginner and advanced coaches and all interested readers can learn, independently from their age. Today I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite tales from this book - it is about lending a helping hand and acceptance. Enjoy!
One of the author's favorite tales of healing, found in Hermann Hesse's Magister Ludi, involves Joseph and Dion, two famous healers, who lived in biblical times. Alhough both were highly successful, they worked with different methods. The younger one, Joseph, healed through quiet, active listening. Pilgrims trusted Joseph. Suffering and anxiety poured into his ears vanished like water on the desert sand and penitents left his presence emptied and calmed. Contrary to Joseph, the older healer called Dion, actively confronted those who asked for his help. He divined their unconfessed sins. He was a great judge, chastiser, scolder, and rectifier, and he helped people through active intervention. Treating the pilgrims as children, he gave advice, punished by assigning penance, ordered pilgrimages and marriages, and compelled enemies to make up.
The two healers never met, and they were considered to be rivals for many years until Joseph grew spiritually ill, fell into dark despair, and was struck with ideas of self-destruction. Being unable to help himself with his own therapeutic methods, he started out on a journey to the south to look for the help of Dion.
On his pilgrimage, Joseph stopped one evening at an oasis, where he initiated a conversation with an older traveler. When Joseph described the purpose and destination of his pilgrimage, the old man offered himself as a guide to assist in the search for Dion. Later, during their long journey together the elderly traveler revealed his identity to Joseph. Believe it or not: he himself was Dion - exactly the man Joseph sought.
Without hesitation Dion invited his younger, despairing rival into his home, where they lived and worked together for long-long years. Dion first asked Joseph to be a servant. Later he lifted him up to become a student and, finally, to full colleagueship. Years later, Dion fell ill and on his deathbed called his young fellow to him in order to hear a confession. He spoke about Joseph's earlier terrible illness and his trip to old Dion to plead for help. He spoke of how Joseph had felt it was a miracle that his fellow traveler and guide turned out to be Dion himself.
Now that he was dying, the hour had arrived, Dion told Joseph, to break his silence about that miracle. Dion confessed that at the time it had looked like a miracle to him as well, for he, too, had fallen into despair. He, too, felt empty and spiritually dead and, being unable to help himself, had started out on a journey to look for help. Exactly the night that they had met at the oasis he was on a pilgrimage to a famous healer called Joseph.
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