From the very beginning an authentic loving person…and I make it an absolutely necessary point that there is nothing more therapeutic than love. Technique can help, but the real miracle happens through love. Love the people who participate in therapy and be one amongst them, with no pretensions of being higher or holier.
Make it clear from the very beginning: “These are the techniques I have learned, and a little bit is my experience. I will give you the techniques, and I will share my experience. But you are not my disciples; you are just friends in need. I have some understanding, not much, but I can share it with you. Perhaps many of you have their own understanding coming from different areas, different directions. They can also share their experience and make the group richer.”
In other words, what I am saying is a totally new concept of therapy. The therapist is only a coordinator. He just tries to make the group more silent, serene; he keeps an eye that nothing goes wrong…more of a guardian than a master.
And you have also to make it clear: “I am also learning while I am trying to share my experience. When I am listening to you, it is not only your problems; they are my problems too. And when I am saying something, I am not only saying it, I am listening also.”
Emphatically make it clear that you are nobody special. This has to be done in the beginning of the group, and this has to be carried on as the group goes deeper, exploring. You just remain an elder, who has gone a few steps ahead; otherwise you will not be able to help people. They will learn the technique and they will become therapists on their own. And there are enough fools – five billion fools – on the earth; they will find their own followers.
It is a human weakness that when people start looking up to you, you start thinking, “There must be something great in me if people are looking up to me.” They are in trouble, they are suffering from human frailties. But you are also human, and to err is absolutely human. Without any condemnation, with great love, help them to open themselves – and this is possible only if you open yourself.
I have come to know a strange fact: strangers tell each other things that they can never say to people they know. In a railway train you meet somebody; you don’t know his name, you don’t know where he is going, from where he is coming, and people start sharing. I have been traveling for twenty years non-stop in the whole country, watching a strange phenomenon: that people give their secrets to strangers, because the stranger is not going to exploit it. Just the next station comes, and the stranger is gone; perhaps you may never see him again. And he is not concerned to destroy your reputation or anything.
On the contrary, sharing your secrets, your weaknesses, your vulnerabilities makes others more confident and more loving and more trusting in you. Your trust provokes their trust in you, and when they see you are so innocent and so open and available, they start opening up: it is a chain reaction.