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Gianluca Magi
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The art of searching the hidden treasure
(which could not exactly be the thing you’re looking for
or that could be in a different place from what you think).


«As the ones who, ignoring the place where a treasure is hidden,
go there again and again without finding it,
all creatures, as fast asleep,
live every single day without finding the world of Brahman,
since they’re so much distracted by unessential things»
- Chàndogya Upanisad 8.3.2



From the legendary Gilgamesh to nowadays, man has always been looking for a way to go into himself, as in a journey, trying to achieve his own freedom.

The great learning traditions have used many different metaphors to allude to man, who wants to find himself.

Taking the trouble to make the ordinary man metabolize their message, they took shapes, which were comprehensible for the age, the place and the understanding capacities of the pupil, devising methods and stratagems, useful for the transmission of the teaching without betraying, however, their foundations nature.

A simple metaphor describes the ordinary man. Man was born very rich. A great treasure belongs to him but, for some contrary circumstances, he does not realize it.


He has in front of him an inestimable treasure, but he does not become aware of it (maybe also because men do not believe in treasures!). Therefore, he lives his life in financial straits. And he dies in misery. A strange irony of faith, thinking that the treasure that could put an end to his misery is much nearer than he thinks and that he should not look for it in far lands even though, and this is a constant factor in any tradition, he needs to make a long and difficult journey to understand it.

The Game of the Hero consists in finding his own treasure. But many obstacles stand on his way. But these obstacles, as path marks, will lead him to the finding of the treasure (freedom).

An extract from my book Il dito e la luna (The finger and the moon) takes us into the core of this matter -> Listen to one page.

«Power on oneself is better than
a thousand year power on others»
- Fudail Ibn Ayad


The ways of searching, proofs of cartography for the wayfarer


«Practice your knowledge,
since knowledge without practice
is like a body without life»
- Abu Hanifa


The journey inside oneself is a pilgrimage studded with meetings and adventures, that too used eyes could not see any longer.

The ones who come to me shun classic psychotherapy, or are trying to solve the problem of the sense of existence; others are trying to escape from the mire of depression, of anxiety, of the incapacity of improving their own lives; others are trying to find their own way through the moral rules acquired from their family, from religion, from school and the rules of the world, that are often incompatible between them; others are trying to develop their mental capacities they’ve become aware of, but that circumstances did not favour. And the list could certainly be longer.

The methodologies I use are educational in the etymological sense of this word, that is “to take out” the essence, the hidden potential of the human being, often stifled by the mechanical attachment to mental conventions and behaviour schemes, that have become automatic.

I conceive my Job as a modern psycho-pedagogical or mental


training system that, contrary to a conventional education (that only aims at giving external information), does not want to transmit a doctrine or a philosophical theory, that should convince people to leave their own convictions to take more plausible ones, but rather to show that there is another chance of comprehension.

This working method I worked out in years and that I like to define as The Game of the Hero, combines the great spiritual doctrines of Sufism, Tantrism, Taoism and Buddhism with the psychological and philosophical techniques stored up in Western countries during two millenniums and a half of research on the essence of existence. Here, the meeting of the West and the East is made possible in the light of psycho-integrative practices, that draw from Transpersonal psychology and from Comparative philosophy.

Therefore, my presence in this situation – a sort of Seelsorge or kalyànimitta, «the noble friend» of Buddhist memory that gives a chance of escaping from a way bristling with obstacles – is useful to make the person unconscious resources come out.


A methodological example: the narration therapy, a Sufi stratagem to ease the journey


«Truth was not born naked,
but in symbols and images.
You cannot catch it in any other way».
- Gospel of Philip

As I also mentioned in an interview to the daily “Il Resto del Carlino” in December 1998, one of the psycho-pedagogical methods I use in my Job is the use of metaphoric material, such as parables and legends. This kind of methodology could be called the “narration therapy”. I use different didactic histories, useful as “spiritualising factor” and able to make people understand what usually seems incomprehensible. Through a metaphoric communication, you can better invite the pupil to turn his look inside himself.

I’ve taken this teaching modality from the Sufi tradition, which uses this method to prepare the pupil’s mind to illumination. Jesus knew the

importance of this method very well, too. In fact, he gave his teaching through parables, so effective that survived two thousand years.

The “narration therapy” is an effective trick, that indirectly invites the pupil to turn his look towards his own bottom. It is a “beneficial cheat” that evades his resistances to changes and acts on the emotional component of his personality. That way, teaching is placed within a frame that hides its deep meaning and, at the same time, shows it. This approach has the function of talking directly to the heart of the pupil, in order to upset the previous perceptive-emotional balance of reality.

«Truth can only reach people in the shape of a lie:
only in this shape they are able to accept it, only in this shape they are able to digest it and assimilate it;
the bare truth would be indigestible food to them»
Georges I. Gurdjieff

Through the use of narration (that is, as Gregory Bateson often remembered, the essential expression of human thoughts, of human mind), we try to make the patient’s unconscious resources emerge. This is our conviction: the subject’s unconscious owns the antibodies for pain itself.


In the best of cases, the ad hoc use of a parable will allow the pupil to fix, for an instant, the situation in which his mental condition becomes clear. Furthermore, the parable stresses on the practical activity, so that the pupil’s mind can enter new courses and new function modalities.


«Those who know all,
but are lacking in themselves,
are utterly lacking».

- Jesus (Gospel of Thomas)

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