I finished teaching my last Psychology of Transformative Learning class yesterday. The title of the course felt daunting to me (I didn’t come up with that title, the class I suggested would have been called “Imaginal Ways of Knowing” or “Psychology of Perceiving and Knowing”), but I did what I always do–I taught it from “third space.” I knew that it wasn’t me who was teaching this class. The subject itself (transformative learning) was teaching it, and I was there to learn about transformative learning along with my students. I didn’t need to fret about the material, because the right material would show up.
Third space is similar in some respects to Jung’s notion of the collective unconscious and psychologists often refer to third space as “liminal” space. Theologians define it as a “Divine Third” and Martin Buber called it “Thou.” One might also call it the imagination. Our traditional institutions—religion, psychology, medicine, education—have removed the liminal layer from their practices. If something can’t be measured or seen clearly, it is presumed to not exist. Third space is where we find inspiration, creative renewal, and meaning.
Third space is that place of expanded knowing and intuitive wisdom; it’s the great unknown of inspiration and possibility. We could define it as our creative process, or as a realm that is just beyond our ordinary, every day rational intellectual capacities. When groups of two or more come together in meaningful ways for a shared purpose, there is a larger wisdom available to draw upon, a wisdom that lies within the center of the group itself. Teaching from that place keeps me inspired and renewed. It ended up being a great class!