"To pray is to stand before God with the mouth in the heart." In fact, suggested Jill Hawes in a talk on personality, relationships and faith, God has to be within us, or he is nowhere. Speaking to a packed audience at St Marys House, Jill gave us a whole host of intriguing snippets, anecdotes and home truths around the topic.
A playwright for Yorkshire TV, Jill went on to become a marriage guidance counsellor, using a combination of psychology and her own deep-rooted faith to try and unpick some of the tangles in troubled personal relationships.
To illustrate what could go wrong in a relationship the submerged part of us that can do so much damage she used the analogy of an iceberg. The small part showing above the water is our conscious self, while the much larger hidden element is our subconscious, which is the root of so many psychosomatic or psychosexual problems.
Jill, we learnt, trained with Relate and at the Tavistock Institute before practising as a counsellor the challenge then being to retrieve some of the subconscious self in people, which can make all the difference in personal relationships. Travelling along this road for the talk, Jill was both provocative and engaging as she explored a number of themes. Why, for example, do opposites attract in a relationship? What is the link between our faith and how we behave in a relationship for example sin and sacrifice? And what about aggressive behaviour, which, she reminded us, can be both creative and destructive?
What is there to learn in all this? We humans are complex, much of our psychology lies buried for most of the time and the hidden stuff can be responsible for how we behave and sometimes for derailing our relationships. Meanwhile, for those of us who have made the leap of faith, there is God who might just be the answer to some of these worldly and highly complex interpersonal problems.
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