Abraham Maslow also inspired my own hero, the late Italian psychiatrist and founder of psychosynthesis, Dr. Roberto Assagioli. In Maslow's writings on Self-Actualization, he touches on something which is very dear to my own heart, and that is the notion of Sacralizing life! I recently completed a coaching session with a client whom I encouraged to give a name to her new beach cabin, which is smaller than any home she has ever lived in before. This was a way to
her living environment. Here's Maslow's thinking on this:
"Resacralizing. Resacralizing means being willing, once again, to see a person "under the aspect of eternity," as Spinoza says, or to see him in the medieval Christian unitive perception, that is being able to see the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic. It is to see Woman with a capital "W" and everything which that implies, even when one looks at a particular woman. Another example: One goes to medical school and dissects a brain. Certainly something is lost if the medical student isn't awed but, without the unitive perception, sees the brain only as one concrete thing. Open to resacralization, one sees a brain as a sacred object also, sees its symbolic value, sees it as a figure of speech, sees it in its poetic aspects.
Resacralization often means an awful lot of corny talk - "very square," the kids would say. Nevertheless, for the counselor, especially for the counselor of older people, where these philosophical questions about religion and the meaning of life come up, this is a most important way of helping the person to move toward self-actualization. The youngsters may say that it is square, and the logical positivists may say that it is meaningless, but for the person who seeks our help in this process, it is obviously very meaningful and very important, and we had better answer him, or we're not doing what it is our job to do.
Put all these points together, and we see that self-actualization is not a matter of one great moment. It is not true that on Thursday at four o'clock the trumpet blows and one steps into the pantheon forever and altogether. Self-actualization is a matter of degree, or little accessions accumulated one by one. (1971, p. 49).
~ Excerpted from "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature" by Abraham Maslow.