The Transpersonal Will of Nelson


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The story of Nelson da Rabeca – The Rebec Player Nelson – an ex sugar cane cutter from Brazil who at the age 54 found transcendence from his harsh reality through music. I was inspired by his story to talk about the Psychosynthesis concepts of Transpersonal Will and Transcendence. Download to watch the video, enjoy it and honour your inner call too!

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The Transpersonal Will of Nelson

  1. 1. TheTranspersonalWillofNelson
  2. 2. The Transpersonal Will of Nelson Nelson dos Santos was born on March 12, 1929, in the state of Alagoas, Brazil. He is a much loved, respected and accomplished folk musician in his native state, where he is known as Nelson da Rabeca, or the Rebec Player Nelson.
  3. 3. Rebec?Rebec is a bowed stringmusical instrument thatwas popular in the 15thand 16th centuries. It is anancestor of the violin: ithas a narrow boat-shapedbody and 1-5 strings andis played on the arm orunder the chin, like aviolin. Many types and nostandard characterize theBrazilian rabecas, thatreflect their makers style.Each rebec is unique.
  4. 4. Nelsons backgroundSince he was a little boy to his late50s, Nelson worked as a sugar canecutter, following his familys pattern.He never went to school, was illiterateand had no musical training. He wasonce beaten up for playing accordion,because his father considered he waswasting time. Nelson married a workmate, they had 10 kids. The family didnt have a house of their own and working together in the plantations, they couldnt even meet their basic needs.
  5. 5. Nelsons CallOne day, while watching television, Nelson had a visionthat would change his life. He listened to a call “fromabove”. Everybody laughed at him and did not believewhen he said he would “play this thing” – at the time, hedidnt even know “this thing” was called a violin.
  6. 6. “I was 54 years old whenGod gave me this life. I sawa guy playing violin onsomeone elses television, asat that time I had no TV. Iwent into the woods, I cut atree and I set my mind onmaking an instrument. Then Istarted to play it at the beachfor tourists and locals. Backthen, I only played someoneelses music. Then I startedto play my own, and I havealready recorded three CDs[...] To play throughout Brazilis very good. Oh boy, it isvery good indeed. ThankGod I have nothing missingin my life.” (July 2005, at 78)
  7. 7. At the beginning, friends andfamily thought Nelson wasfooling himself. But followinghis intuition, he made his firstinstrument, created its uniquetuning and learnt how to play iton his own. To begin with, heused to work five days cuttingsugar and dedicate his freetime to mastering the rebec.When he was confident with a few songs, he started to busk inpublic. From midday to 4pm he would earn more money than 15days cutting sugar cane. When he realised this, he left his job andstarted to make more instruments. Nelson says he has made over5,000 rebecs. Each instrument is unique and can take him from 5days to 3 months, depending on the type of wood. Musicians fromall over the world go to Alagoas to meet him, buy rebecs and try tounderstand how he learnt it all without having ever studied music.
  8. 8. Nelsons path as a musician has been a long one. Only in the last 15 years of his 30 years career he has enjoyed some recognition outside Alagoas and relative national success, being invited to play throughout Brazil and even in Norway, in 2011.He still maintains a modest life style and hasnt become rich orvery famous, but that was never his aim: he is now a fulfilled, selfrealised and extremely content man. Still working and playing atage 83, Nelson has been teaching how to make and play rebecsto a new generation of musicians. His humble house in MarechalDeodoro has open doors to anybody who wishes to meet him –no appointment is needed. Curiously, he still uses the samemachete he used to work with to cut sugar cane!
  9. 9. "I heard that an old dog does not learn newtricks, but it does. Ive learned many. Im 80years old and I keep creating, I keep makingmusic" (July 2008)
  10. 10. The Transpersonal Will Transpersonal or Meta-needs Psychological needs Most basic needs“Achieving the satisfaction of the first two groups of needs often engenders,paradoxically, a sense of boredom, ennui, emptiness, and meaninglessness. It leadsto a more or less blind search for "something other," something more. This is seen inmany who, having had great satisfactions and successes in the ordinary world,become increasingly restless, rebellious, or depressed.” (Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will – The Transpersonal Will, p. 106)
  11. 11. “To help understand the dissatisfaction with "normal" life, we can look again atthe diagram of the psychological constitution of man, found on page 14. Thebasic and normal personal needs concern the levels of the lower and middlepsychological life, both conscious and unconscious. However, there is also athird and higher level— the area of the superconscious, which culminates in theTranspersonal Self. It is both the drama and glory of man that this higher level,most often latent, sooner or later demands satisfaction; it demands to be takeninto account and lived.” (Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will – The Transpersonal Will, p. 110)
  12. 12. […] there have been many instances of spontaneous, sudden, unexpectedillumination, without any previous conscious striving or exertion. In thesecases the initiative is taken by the Transpersonal Self, which exerts a "pull" fromabove. This fact can be understood by considering the psychological constitutionof human beings. We have seen that the will is the function in closest relation tothe self, the most direct expression of the self. This is true both for the personalself and for the Transpersonal Self. Just as there is a personal will—the one wehave been considering up to now—so there is a Transpersonal Will, which isan expression of the Transpersonal Self and operates from thesuperconscious levels of the psyche. It is its action which is felt by thepersonal self, or "I," as a"pull" or "call." Accounts of religious experiences often speak of a "call" from God, or a "pull" from some Higher Power; this sometimes starts a "dialogue" between the man and this "Higher Source," in which each alternately invokes and evokes the other. (Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will – The Transpersonal Will, p. 113-114)
  13. 13. Transcendence Limitations of "normal" consciousness and life do not manifest themselves only as a search and will to meaning, to enlightenment. There are other types of transcendence which are experienced by the corresponding types of human beings. Some of the chief ones are: 1. Transcendence through transpersonal love. 2. Transcendence through transpersonal action. 3. Transcendence through beauty. 4. Transcendence through SELF-realization. These ways of transcendence can also be expressed in terms of will, the fundamental will to transcend personality limitations through union with someone or something greater and higher. More exactly, in all of them we find the union of will and love.(Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will – The Transpersonal Will, p. 116)
  14. 14. Transcendence through Beauty“It is in the creation of beauty, however, that thewill is I more manifest. It is often realized that theartist is driven by the urge to create, that hispersonality is impelled by this urge which issometimes easy and joyous, but more often isdifficult and even painful. Often the personalityrebels or tries to evade the higher urge. Yet theartist is obliged to create; hes given no peace untilhe has obeyed the urge to create that which hasbeen prepared in the superconscious realm.Thus, there is a direct connection between will andbeauty. This is a fact not often realized because inmany cases, at the personality level, artists mayhave little developed will, and more highlydeveloped feelings, emotions, and imagination.It is often their Transpersonal Self which exercisesits Will and compels the personality to expressbeauty. Yet there have been and there are artistswho have clearly demonstrated personal willas well.” (Roberto Assagioli, The Act of Will – The Transpersonal Will, p. 118)
  15. 15. Nelson and Benedita Nelson and his with Benedita at their home, inMarechal Deodoro (Alagoas-Brazil). YouTube video published on May 1, 2012 by Matheus Pirajá Nelsons contact:
  16. 16. Dedicated to Nelson and Benedita Thank you! Presentation by Paula Góes-Wright The Psychosynthesis and Education TrustFoundation Year in Psychosynthesis (G49) – September 2012