What is ‘Depth’?

September 18, 2021 AURELIS Syllabus, Cognitive Insights No Comments

An AURELIS coach always reaches for depth in his coaching. There is an ongoing commitment to depth.

Superficial – deep

We talk about ‘superficial’ versus ‘deep’ attention, or ‘superficial’ versus ‘deep’ meaning, or ‘superficial’ versus ‘deep’ emotions.

And of course: in the syllabus, you continually encounter the term ‘the deeper self.’

So what is depth?

That is and remains a difficult question.

What does art mean in art?  A professional pianist, for example, may play the piano very well and yet produce little that could be called ‘touching.’ One movie is pure art, and the other is superficial. What’s the difference?

And then some people quickly get this, and others don’t.

Someone from the second group may get a bit irritated: “But what are you talking about? Can you finally tell me what this is all about… or is it all just snobbery?”

Does the poem below have any depth?

For me, yes.

It’s not snobbery to me, nor is it false sentimentality. When I wrote it, I know that I was in on it in an intense way as a total person. And every time I reread it, for that matter, although I know that if I put in enough effort, I can read it in a ‘superficial’ way too.

Ah… when I wrote it, I was intensely involved as a total person

Can depth be seen as a layer somewhere below many superficial layers?

No. Underneath superficial layers, you usually find just other superficial layers. If you scrape away all the superficial layers, you still don’t get to depth.

So that’s not the aim of AURELIS coaching either!

On the other hand, depth can also be present on the surface.

With no superficial layer over it. Even more than that: seriously lived-through depth IS present on the surface.

Depth is not the opposite of superficiality.

If we put it ‘opposite’ to each other (such as different forms of attention), then we are not simply talking about a contradiction.

‘Deep’ refers to the fact that depth is present. ‘Superficial’ does not refer to the fact that superficiality is present, but that depth is absent.

And then we come to something that makes the word ‘depth’ correct. This is related to more than just the shell. People respond to people, namely: to complete persons.

People respond to depth.

That is touching. A purely conscious, ‘merely superficial’ thinking can be like a screen through which you can no longer see the whole person, not because this person is hidden behind the screen, but because the shell prevents the person from realizing oneself at that moment.

In other words: functionally, it equates to an absence of depth.

It is in such a state that people lose themselves, that they are ‘dissociated’ from themselves. They have lost touch with the deeper self.

You can say: people ‘think’ too much.”

But actually, they think too little. The wrongness of the situation lies not in ‘too much of’ but in ‘enclosing oneself in.’

Striving for depth as an AURELIS coach is not like peeling an onion but always remembering that the onion itself is completely onion.

Real depth

is not ‘heavily deep’

but fresh

and airy

and warm, living.

Depth is what lives organically.

It is not about a complex system devised by a profound philosopher under many frowns and only understandable after four years of brain-twisting at some university. 

It is rather about: a bird in a tree. A flower in a flower box. This wave here and now, glistening in the sun. This crab. This girl and her fleeting gaze. This immeasurable ocean.

Note: NOT just like that!

You need to be intensely involved as a total person.

And that is easy and difficult at the same time. If you don’t quite get this yet, that’s OK. Look again at the bird and the flower, the wave, and the girl. And then again. And again.

And then ask the ocean.

The ocean will be happy to serve you.

Her answer, however, you cannot hear.

You can only recognize it.


Detached of feelings

and thoughts

come deeper feelings

and thoughts.


and always deeper

like a slow

slow falling.

It ‘doesn’t matter anymore.’


Detached of feelings

and thoughts

come feelings and thoughts

outside me.

Not they in me

but me in them.

Tell me ‘beauty’

and I drown.

Tell me ‘melancholy’

and I drown.

Tell me ‘compassion’

and I drown

in an ocean.

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