“As adults in wealthy western cultures what one material thing is valued more highly over all others? It is the home of course! A house or an apartment of your very own, is seen as the great goal, and or, an investment stepping stone to tremendous wealth; either way it is prized within our modern societies today. As many of us, work frantically toward this Mount Olympus like achievement, paying off large bank loans with monthly repayments, often at the affect of capricious interest rates, we can lose sight of who we are and what makes us happy. The focus on the goal, can overwhelm our sense of enjoyment in playing this game of life.
Why not, use the very thing that taunts and teases us, the carrot dangling before us, the hallowed home, as a device for getting to know ourselves and finding happiness? Discovering the secrets to what makes us happy, are found, not in some exotic foreign clime or obscure ancient text, but much closer to home. In fact, the clues to who we are and what we truly want, are all around us in every room of our living abodes. Welcome to what I call House Therapy.
“Your house, your home, is your castle not your prison and it is often wise to remember that you can move on if you need to. “
Of course, you do not have to own the home you live in to benefit from House Therapy, as your mere presence within your house or apartment defines it as yours. We all generally have some influence on the look and feel of the rooms within our home, and even for those uber minimalists out there, your very non-doing defines your home just as much. There is a Taoist flavour to House Therapy, as it employs the Isness of things principle being at work in our lives. The way things are – is the way things are – and that is for a reason, if you just take the time to look.
You do not need to be an architect or an interior designer, to benefit from the insights offered by House Therapy, indeed we are all to some degree designers of our own lives. If not you, who else is the most influential person in your life, and who knows you better? Who else, in your life, is defining themselves by every decision and choice made, as they make their way along their life pathway? Nobody but You, I would proffer!
In the following pages and chapters of this book we will be looking at what houses and homes really are, on a whole host of levels of understanding, documenting examples and explaining their different relevancies. I will be bringing together, the bricks and mortar reality of houses, with their symbolic meanings to illustrate the core principles underpinning House Therapy; like the foundations of a home. We will explore the history of houses and take a guided tour through some of the homes of the most influential cultures and civilizations. We will look at the parallels between the inside of our homes and the inside of our heads.
I may not be able to readily look inside your head, or my own for that matter, but I posit that the interiors of your homes provide me with lots of clues about how you think and who you are. More usefully it can present you with more information, and dare I say it, actual wisdom, about yourself and those closest to you, once you have learnt to read the signs. House Therapy is about bringing to life the essential qualities inherent in many different parts of you, through an analysis of specific rooms within your home.
The process begins, like most introductory encounters, from a superficial outer standpoint and then moves determinedly deeper in. Generalisations graduate to specifics and uniquely personal insights come more readily to the fore. At the beginning, of any new meeting, all we usually see is skin and the outer surface of people and things, then in time we know more and feel more, than just what we can see before us. Developing relationships and emerging friendships take us on a journey beyond what we assume and think is so. House Therapy asks you to put aside, for a little while, the known and the obvious, and like an investigator or scientist, begin with a clean slate and just the evidence you discover.
There are several traditions, which employ some awareness about living circumstances and structures, Feng Shui is one from the Chinese culture, and Vastu Shastra is another from the Ayurvedic Indian tradition – these two philosophies share a concern with the lay-out and placement of your home in relation to the surrounding geography and the universe. I will be including some wisdom derived from both these sources in my House Therapy compendium, and this knowledge will be made available to you in the form of helpful hints that you can utilise to help improve your situation. For example you may be advised to clear out old furniture which is connected to past relationships; or you might need to look at rearranging patterns and room functions within your home; and if all else fails where and what to move into, when creating a new home.
This however is not a book about either of those very fine eastern philosophical traditions. It is a book about the inner pathways of our minds or souls and how those pathways are revealed by the outer rooms within our homes. House Therapy’s basic premise is that we are all made up of a number of personality or character strands and that these can be more clearly seen and understood within the specific rooms of our homes.
Our homes are often so close to us, indeed they hold us in their substantial grip, that we can be blind to what they can show us about ourselves. Through the pages of this book, and the many questions it will pose to you, I seek to reveal to you in the spirit of self revelation more of who you really are. If you take the time, and I confidently assure you that it will be a stimulating time, you will gain insights into who you are more fully, and perhaps parts of yourself, which may have been shut down/censored; possibly to your detriment. Know our home or house and know yourself.
On a pragmatic level your house is your castle, not your prison, and it is often wise to remember that you can move on if you need to. Mobility of energy is a very important aspect in our lives, if we are to be happy and free, and in some situations it is better to cut your losses and relocate. One of the most exhilarating and wonderful qualities we have as human beings is our ability to start again, to reinvent ourselves and feel the rush of energy that can come with change. To use an analogy, it can be like the new growth, which comes after the destruction and desolation of the bush fire. In these circumstances you can turn around that, ‘under siege’ mentality, which saps your energy as you feel like you have everything to lose, and discover the reborn reinvigoration available when we begin again. Life is an infinite cycle of beginnings and endings, so my advice is please don’t get stuck in the middle.”