My husband and sons love diving. Do you like diving? Living in Indonesia, we are in the heart of a haven for divers. There are incredible corals, fish, and various sea life in our doorstep. While I often come along with them on some of their underwater adventures, my favorite dives are into the self, into the soul.
Perhaps this is why I became a psychiatrist – it is my quest to understand what being human is about, to guide others in their explorations. What can be deeper than the depth of the soul? What can be wider than the breadth of one’s life? It is absolutely amazing to see life within us and beyond us.
Having a guide is definitely helpful and sometimes necessary in unfamiliar terrain, but at the very least, you need a trusted buddy. You don’t need a psychiatrist to go on your own personal exploration, as long as you know that you have someone who has your back – healthy relationships that are life-giving. The magic in soul-searching is that a pen and paper can be just as good as a listening ear – to embrace whatever comes when you pour your heart out. What you do need to know is what to do, so you can stay safe, discover yourself and get the most out of the experience.
Exploring the depths can be scary. It took me a long time to finally get my diver’s license because it is frightening to lose the ground beneath my feet and the air that flows through my nose. Diving into one’s self can be just as frightening, if not more, especially if you are used to holding tight control over yourself. The surface of the water is like the surface of your consciousness, and it can be unnerving to put your head in. You might fear becoming lunch for sharks. But most of the time, as when people dive in the ocean or other waters, you immerse yourself in an amazing world you never realize existed, you find peace and calm that you never thought were possible, you discover yourself, and you are thoroughly changed. You might actually have fun with the sharks, as my husband does. The sad truth is, more sharks end up as fin soup than they could ever hurt us.
Actually, I learned the art of diving into the soul far before I became a psychiatrist. It is this love that brought me to the work I do today. For scuba diving, we have different groups, like PADI, SSI, CMAS, etc. who teach people how to dive and give licenses. I learned how to “dive into my self” from Personnalité et Relations Humaines (personality and human relations). The method is called “PRH analysis”. If it sounds technical, that is the difference between going to a dive center and going underwater. It is good to know, but at the end of the day, the real beauty is within.
This blog is not about the technicalities. It is just my sharing of my own journey, my own explorations. If you enjoy it, that would be wonderful. If it inspires you on your own journey, even better. I would love to hear of your travels too.
We are all fellow travelers in this universe. We are free to explore this blue planet with all its waters that give us life. We are free to explore our humanness, too. Perhaps if we can better understand ourselves and our planet, it will help us grow and build humanity, to take better care of ourselves and this beautiful earth we call home.