The laughter of recognition

Therapy is no laughing matter. Of course, there are moments of humour, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes self-deprecating or black as the night. So when one of my colleagues elicited round after round of delighted peals of laughter from her clients, I became curious, and cornered her to find out more about this laughing therapy.

In 2010, I founded the International Turning Point counselling centre in Stockholm and invited an eclectic group of colleagues from various modalities and nationalities to work alongside me. And on Tuesday afternoons I had the pleasure of having a wonderful colleague by the name of Carin Noelius work in the room adjoining me. What I didn’t know was that she had recently become, after four years of study, a human design analyst. She explained to me how human design offered clients the opportunity to explore their genetic psychological, mental and emotional blueprints. As a recent addition to the more esoteric sciences, it offers an integration of ancient approaches, such as astrology, the I Ching, the Jewish Kabbalah and the teachings of chakra systems.

Almost all therapeutic approaches, from traditional psychoanalytical and psychodynamic theory, to Gestalt and psycho-spiritual approaches such as psychosynthesis, work from an implicit assumption that there is an authentic self that is waiting to be rediscovered underneath the many layers of conditioning, wounding and defence mechanisms that have allowed us to navigate the trail and tribulations, as well as the joys of our evolving lives. By exploring the issues and the fears that stop us from fully living out our lives from this authentic self, often the cause of much of the pain that brings people into therapy in the first place, a sense of congruence and harmony in the psyche can be restored. And it can be a long and emotional process, unlearning habits that are rooted in us like neurological pathways through the jungle of our psyche. And so, one of the first questions I asked Carin therefore, was whether this new Human Design approach wasn’t some kind of quick fix shortcut to the process of self development and individuation. Her response was to offer to work out my personal Human Design chart, based on my birth data, and judge for myself. Lured by the prospect of experiencing that same delighted laughter of recognition, I accepted her offer gratefully.

As busy therapists with a thriving counseling practice, it took a little while before we finally had the chance to sit down and look at her findings. However, one prominent aspect of my chart had immediately jumped out at her. While enjoying a quick cup of tea in the corridor between clients, I bemoaned the fact that having spent many weeks developing a mailing list of international contacts only to have replied to come to my invitation for an open evening. ‘But Lysanne, you are a Projector’, she laughed, ‘you aren’t designed to take initiatives. You can wait until the correct people invite you and acknowledge you for the skills that you have.’ In that moment, although not accompanied by peals of laughter, I felt as if a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders, and that an intrinsic ‘knowing’ was returned to me. All at once, all the societal conditioning that had been telling me to go out there and make my mark on the world, fell away. And in the weeks following I could easily identify the successful life decisions that had been based on invited projecs and the many frustrations and roadblocks that were the result of my own conditioned initiatives. And I lived happily ever after. Not.

Because, when we finally sat down to explore my chart more fully, and after many more years of experimenting with my own and other people’s charts, the answer to my ‘is it a quick fix’ question had become abundantly clear. Neither Human Design, nor its more psycho-spiritual offshoot, Gene Keys, offers a quick fix. Whether you are an energy being such as myself, or have to follow the decision-making-strategy of so-called Manifestors, Generators, or Reflectors, the work of uniting and aligning with your authentic self remains the same. Having said that, exploring the inner workings of your psyche, and of your mental and emotional states, gives you a surer footing when you hold a map in your hands that shows the myriad ways in which you are uniquely you. And not only that, it also shows that any comparison with the path of those who walk this short stretch of life alongside you, is both unnecessarily harmful and self-defeating. We are transitioning from a long period in history where our strength was derived from seeking out the things that brought us together. Politics, religion, or  more recently environmental concerns. This age of homogenisation has led humanity into joining forces to develop systems whereby the strong support the weak and where decisions are no longer made by feudal lords, but by democratic means. However, in the historical times that ly ahead of us, we are all challenged to find out inner compass, to be our own inner authority, rather than project our power onto a system, a belief, or an external God. We are  asked to love one another despite our differences, to live in an age where ‘unity in diversity’ leads to non-hierarchical, self-regulating organisations and organisms where everyone plays their part. Your Human Design chart offers you the opportunity to look into the mirror of your own uniqueness, and rediscover the many varied aspects of your incarnation vehicle.

And where Human Design gives you the ingredients of your unique incarnation cocktail, the Gene Keys offer you a way of mixing these ingredients, increase their potency, and understand how your cocktail directly affects the cocktails of other people. Your increased awareness aroun this merry karmic drinking environment allows you to accept that no one is responsible for the way we feel, think, and experience our spirituality, other than we ourselves, through our own attitude to our suffering.

So how does this work? Astrology has long held that at the moment of our birth, the movement of the planets imprints us with certain characteristics. The explanation that Human Design brings to this is the suggestion that the imprinting information is carried in tiny, recently discovered particles, called neutrinons. And while my scientific, academic brain still shudders a little as I write this, my experimental, lived experimental, lived experience of reading and analysing over a hundred charts in the past decade, has taught me that it doesn’t really matters how  it works, only that it works. And yes, that relieved peal of laughter has been present in my life, especially when I, as a so-called third line being, once again crash into something, because I am specially designed to learn through a process of trail and error.

The energy type that you are, combined with your best decision-making strategy, and the essence of your I-Ching lines, are just the start of the far more complex journey into the many different layers of your karmic blueprint. Ra Uru Hu, the father of Human Design, has said that this knowledge isn’t so much for our generation, but for the generations to come. To know themselves more fully, by being parented more wisely, so that they can share their gifts with the world more effectively. And Richard Rudd, the founder of the Gene Keys system, adds that it is our own attitudes to our suffering, be it emotional, physical, or mental, that determines whether we live in peace and harmony with our destiny in life, or lose energy trying to fix the unfixable.


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