Where is home?

“We are all just walking each other Home”

Ram Dass (1971)
Where is Home? 

This question has been one that has challenged me for as long as I can remember. It has brought with it an unremitting, quandary of psycho-spiritual disorientation which has frequently left me perplexed in my search to understand my being and my place in the world.

Home is one of the rare constructs which each member of the human race can relate to. Every community and culture has some kind of common idea of what a Home represents and whilst this can have strikingly diverse, and material differences, we all seem to share a much more homogenous sense of our Home being a place of shelter and safety.

The most common discourse around the topic of Home amounts to where we are in the world. For most, the combination of finding our space and making it our place is what brings us our sense of Home. Whether we choose a domestic, communal, national or international construct, the notion of Home will initially present itself as a spatial, territorial and material matter.

We are encouraged to embrace a shared perspective that positions ourselves in a structural and earthly sense, but what is happening when one cannot feel at Home no matter where you roam? 

Whilst many people have experienced a certain, and somewhat satisfactory, felt sense of Home, some people are still seeking to illuminate the challenge of being unable to define orur connection to a home. Some of us choose the physical and structural perspective of home and some of us choose the psychological and emotional connections we have to home. And of course there will be people looking to the spiritual dimension to assist them for their homes have never had a strong connection with buildings, places or people.

What are the lessons to discover from thinking about Home beyond the material and the philosophical approaches, and can these lessons be applied using psychotherapy?

The research literature tells us that if one is to analyse our sense of Home within the context of a material normative sense then we are talking about the requirement to have a roof over our heads, or our ‘shelter’, as described in Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” model (1954).

Here are some further considerations that could help us clarify the setting in which this post will discuss Home:

  • If we are to consider Home as the space that provides shelter and a roof over our heads then some people have never been without a Home
  • If we are to consider Home as the space we have shared with family, friends and loved ones then some people have never been without a Home
  • However, if we are to think of Home as the space where we have felt a deep belonging. Then soem people have spent the majority of our lives feeling utterly rootless.

This third statement is where the heart of my post lies and therefore the aim of the post is to try and offer further meaning to the experience of ‘rootlessness’.

The challenge of finding Home has brings three analytically distinct, but substantively interrelated types of discourse which are:

  • What are the key themes that make up a felt sense of rootlessness?
  • What are the key themes that have brought us the felt sense of Home?
  • What has been the cause of a polarity between the feelings of disconnection and connectedness? 

Analysis of research data illustrates a sense that this feeling of connectedness and belonging holds the key to a greater sense of feeling ‘at Home’.  But belonging and connected to what is what will be of greater interest from a psychotherapist’s perspective.

At the heart of my research there has been a clear suggestion to be looking beyond the layers of our identity, our emotions, our core beliefs and the structural limitations. My research has explored my connection with Home using a process of spiritual discernment to bring the question of Home into clearer focus, and pave the way for a peeling back of many layers of meaning that hold personal and universal significance for the research topic. But how will you define home? Is the physical enough? and if so, why?

Few have ever tried to position their Home because for a large majority its answer seems so obvious. Home is home and it is known. But if home has never truly been known are you prepared to go and find it?

My research on the topic of home has been a deep motivation at the prospect of re-describing the journey Home, and offer an addition to preceding knowledge by, pushing beyond and amplifying a collective maxim of ‘turning inward’.  Much like Marco Polo, I may not be the first to travel to the destination, but I can at least leave a detailed chronicle of the the experience, a spiritual “Frau Mauro” map that others who are lost can follow. The map may just provide the breadcrumbs and trail through an unfamiliar forest, but it will certainly set a course where only the brave dare to tread .

Troughout my blog, I will outline much of the written theory on the subject of Home, as I begin to uncover the answer to the question;

‘Where is Home?’

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