The author writes about her encounter with Roberto Assagioli in 1972, and remember his clarity and simplicity, his gentle, loving wisdom, which so many student rapport was his essential emanation.
By Tilde Bozzo; translated by Gordon Symons from Italian.
The uphill road is the one that leads to Fiesole. The house I’m looking for is on the right. On the left, opposite, a very green slope with tall trees: a grove with wide spaces, serene. I go up to the first floor. A woman in her fifties opens for me and with a smile has me sit in the waiting room. Old armchairs, different from each other, placed in such a narrow circle that to take a seat, you have to climb over one of them. On the wall there is a beautiful Indian tapestry with an inscription translated on a note hanging in the center: “Whatever the reason you came to me, I welcome you for that reason”. I look down and I am surprised to see the most disparate knick-knacks on a shelf: a horrible ceramic dog, two Christmas compositions full of silvery tufts, an abat-jour with an old-style, battered and crooked hat.
I enter Roberto Assagioli’s study. Behind a desk of the last century full of papers, brochures, etc. (including a ceramic swan door-something) is he. He comes towards me with an uncertain step. Small, thin, old, with a white beard, glasses that do not hide his infinite sweet eyes that look at me with interest. It is not known whether he physically carries his 84 years old well or badly. I understand immediately that this is of no interest, like its ceramic dogs, its swans, its sad lampshades are no longer of interest. In a moment I think: if it is true that we try to make up for what we lack internally with order and external harmony, he certainly does not need it. He reads my autobiography. (He is already very deaf, and this is the best way to communicate our thoughts). Then he turns to me with his swivel chair and tells me looking straight at me and giving me his tender hand marked by osteoarthritis: “Good, good, keep going, working on yourself. You saw that when you needed it, you found one who helped you in life. “
Everything tells me, as he looks at me with his special eyes, with a kindly smile, as if I were the most lovable and valid being on earth, and even if I were not, this would not matter. What matters is that “I am”. I am there with him, in a timeless moment in a place no matter where, at a level where peace and harmony reigns. I put the other sheet containing my questions in his hand. And, as if to focus my attention more on his answers, I frown, as has always been my habit. He gently runs his fingers over my brow and says: “Remember, always remember, that psychosynthesis is joy”.
Speaking of my problems, as he reads them, I wonder why I shared them, since now they are only facts without any problems.
His answers are of extreme clarity and simplicity and at that moment I recognize that I am a “contortionist” of life. My concerns regarding the job of secretary at the Center of Rome and of the Faculty of Psychosynthesis at the University of the Mediterranean (a job for which I have a lot of good will and not even the smallest experience) are resolved with these simple words: “Work calmly, you will not be able to make many mistakes, and if you make a mistake, this will help to correct it. And then, in this imperfect cosmos, in the midst of such imperfect humanity do you want to seek perfection? You don’t need to ask anyone anything.”
Of all the topics we touched on, I quote his words about the help that we can receive and give.
“Let’s take from our guide what she can give us, but don’t rely on her. And let’s not make her an ideal model. It is we who must reach the Self, not look at it in a mirror as we would if we were looking at our master. Work, gather in small groups, discuss among yourselves. We are constellations, not solar systems. We emanate, we do not centralize. From inside to outside, not vice versa. There are two ways to help others: maternal and paternal. The maternal one is to protect, to help. It is all right temporarily but, as the mother should do with the baby, it is to be let go of as soon as possible.
The paternal one is to ensure that the teenager has the opportunity to walk alone. Let’s set an example, we never try to persuade. Let’s not take on the problems of others; let’s help them, when help is requested, without becoming identified ourselves. ‘This I can give you. If you want, take it. I can’t give you more. “You will be blamed for selfishness, indifference, insensitivity: this is much better than helping maternally. Otherwise, the growth of others is impeded, their evolution, and this is the most serious damage we can do. The way can be indicated, but then everyone must work within himself. Far better no teacher than an excellent teacher who wants to impose himself.
So we harmonize ourselves, we live peacefully; in this way we will transmit the serenity around us without useless speeches, and the others will find their way”.
His smile is contagious, his calm makes you think: life is basically such a simple thing, why do we complicate it? His kindness is so genuine that you feel kind too, with all your soul. Then he gives me an old text of his and tells me that it contains outdated things. “Read it, use it and talk about what seems good to you, but don’t give it to others to read. It’s nice to have some little secrets, isn’t it?” he says smiling. With this attitude, as if there was a tacit understanding between him and me, I leave him.
He is like a longtime friend and I spontaneously give him two kisses on the cheeks. His beard is hard as bristle. I go through the door and back to earth. This happened on May 26, 1972. The living example of “new life” had remained there in his ancient study. But over time, thinking back to his words, to everything he transmitted to me, I increasingly understood that it had been a condensation of Love and Wisdom offered so simply, from human being to human being.
How many meanings and teachings are there also in the last episode of the “Secret” between the Great One who lays bare his imperfections and the insecure little perfectionist who flounders and struggles in the waves of personality.
Wasn’t his way of seeing me in my totality, and of focusing only on the best part of me, to whom he generously offered his energies, was that not a clear example of the inner work that I should carry out in the future, and always? From that first visit on, I no longer frowned: this fact was also noticed by him and since then, every psychosynthetic experience of mine has been closely linked to joy, and the greater the higher the level of experience lived. Together with all those who have been and are helped by his Spirit, I address a thought of gratitude to Roberto Assagioli, today as then.
Taken from the “Quaderno della Comunità di Psicosintesi di Città della Pieve” n ° 1 – July 1988