Figure and background and their dynamic interplay are like the double helix of Gestalt Work. This exploration opens many doors:
In landscape, figure and background are one. This is part of what fascinates us—either: we do not have to shift our energies continually, as we normally do in other perceptions, in order to define the figure of interest by our creative act; or, we do shift, but on a far more essential level, as—
We shift from the landscape to the vantage point
We shift from this landscape to the universe
We shift from the landscape to ourselves at the vantage point
For: landscape implies a vantage point characterized by its adequacy to encompass a whole, leaving nothing out, no parts hidden—that is, a point from which everything is obvious.
Landscapes change, if at all, only consistently with the world’s rhythms. And like the changes in those we live with (as our children’s growth, our parents’ aging) we find their changes subtle, slow, surprising. Encompassing everything at once, we need to open far outward to grasp the momentum behind the apparent stability. The shock of a tree falling, a river flooding, a mountain erupting, is all the more intense for this illusory permanence. (Imagine the increasingly constant shocks as people find their entire environment being destroyed, built anew, destroyed again….)
Which brings us to the object of this metaphor—the inner landscape—the Self—the vantage point from which “I” see “myself” or “my inner world.”
I begin in process; my seeing is in tune with change. I follow changes willingly, somehow sensing their friendliness. My own role is simply to go toward the thing that pulls me the most—meet it, give myself to it, allow it to be and me to be what we are—and move on.
I find soon that others whom I love want me to see in certain ways. The pictures they present, so charged with need (their need for me to accept their world)—how can I refuse them, who am so open to the demands of process? How could I know this as an attempt to deny process, to fix me in a place that does not change, where I do not change, ever?
I accept what I am offered and, no matter what follows, will always hold to some of this initial gift—for it is a gift, really. An offering of what amalgam of hopes, fears, secrets, joys, love/hate; of what perspective on a world most likely past.
I may become one whose landscape stays here, for all life. I live in this world, see in this way, feel this way, love, hate, hope, fear this way. Probably raise children and give them the gift, the same gift, this way.
But I may too, somehow, return to an earlier sense—my ability to tune in to processes other than those so strongly offered. My own life, landscape, inner world, may come to life.