On Yoga & Walking with Beauty

snow:walk in new englandOn Yoga & Walking with Beauty

It was one more of my winters of discontent, not quiet ever made glorious. It was one more of my visions that snaked around and quietly became a narrative of thoughts that were rendered in a loose organization of beliefs. Most of the beliefs have been pounded into place, nailed down—as if permanence was ever any part of the human condition.

Literature, Psychoanalysis, Art, Writing, Philosophy, they all came before Yoga arrived. By the time that I met up with Yoga, I had become afraid of it, like I had become afraid of my soul, my spirit and just as important; I had become afraid of my body. I ran from all sensations expecting that if I ran fast and far enough I would eventually run into the world of the not-me and there would be rescued from myself.

Crazy, yes, but all too normal for many of us who listen to irrational fear more readily than we listen to our bodies and our-selves—our multitude of selves that make up our authenticities.

I was a good runner. My mind ran fast and fierce and furious and even rage-fully. All the while my body sat idle content to be a directionless vessel, a directionless cradle that lulled me into regressive, negative unions with my frustration, my behemoth stress that would attack me with fear. My regressive attachments that pulled me, with all the weight of gravity, lower and lower until my mind fell to rest deep in the unconscious region of my existence.

It was a very lonely place before it became solitude. Some say that solitude is a cure for loneliness. It may be, because my many illusions and beliefs seem so unnecessary in my solitude. In my solitude, I learned that it was never meant to be permanent, that my rolling towards death was indeed the most natural element, the foundation of my evolution. And, if I am attempting to stop that process, I am sure to be less successful than the little Dutch Boy was at holding back the sea.

Nonetheless, not fighting my evolution is a different process than not fighting for my health. Despite a career in psychoanalysis, and despite my devotion to health, the most recent winter of my discontent drove home where I was missing the mark. I resisted the practice of the mind-body connection while throughly embracing the philosophy and the theories being spun for me by the mind—the allusive, non organic mind that exist between and among my tissues, sinews, and physically discernible organs.

Before the most recent winter had set in, there was a wonderfully nagging thought that I enjoyed having. It occurred to me, or appeared to me in the form of a sentence. “I have never been betrayed by Beauty.” Emerson jumped into the picture with the line, “Beauty is its own excuse for being.”

What felt interesting to me about these sentences was the immediacy of their truths. Having been myself forever a truth-seeker; my spirit, my encompassing, entire-self, with its connections to the earth and the atmosphere were satisfied. For some, maybe even for many, satisfaction is not a mental and emotional concern. Instead, many of us are intrigued by the delicious sensations of sweet revenge, or instant gratification.
Certainly that is one kind of satisfaction. Western Civilization, especially here in America,  moves us with a great deal of guidance from schools and corporate systems toward success. Success is the goal, and riding in on its coat tails, we envision that along with a plaque that reads, “SUCCESS” we will become happy. But ‘plaque’ along with its definition as an ornamental tablet of commemoration, is also a sticky deposit of waste that adheres to our teeth and the lining of our veins and arteries. A plaque, or plaque in general, is not a one-way street to satisfaction. As sweet as satisfaction is, it is not a guarantee for contentment, and certainly not a guarantee for good health.

Beauty, truth, kindness, vulnerability, psychoanalysis and yoga, compound-complex thoughts that grow entwined with each other in a kind of inter-disciplinary evolution, each creating a renewed sense of hope, a new version of, “In the beginning there was the word.”

 

In the Beginning

The beginning, though met with some fear, always provides for the possibility of the unimaginable, a quick vision of a distant evolution so far away from where we end that space and time combined do not yet reach.  The exact, extreme, extent of our personal human condition, beckons truth seekers.  Those of us riddled with a narcissism of hope are like Faust making his bargain with the devil, the voices that emerge the loudest, and the most seductive, are not of necessity a bargain at all.  What is it worth a man to have gained his mind, and in the process lost his body.

The word had always been a source of motivation.  But, what of the wordlessness that we hear screaming as pain from the body, can we pay attention and hear the call of the wild- primitive within?  Can we close our eyes and see the tissues and the bones and how they flex or not?  Can we really be flexible if all we are willing to flex is the wordy ego?

I have the answer that I need.  The body is as important as the soul. They are siblings, identical twins, separated only by their unique desires; each twin needing as much as the other.  Eventually they no longer dress alike, separated but still identical, the body needs the mind’s attention and the mind needs the body’s attention.  They have become strangers, they have moved away from each other and while still connected as identical they no longer know each other.  There is a silent yearning, a longing for a sense of wholeness.

Beauty and Truth are these kind of siblings.  We remain confident that beauty never betrays us, but we doubt the truth of their oneness.  We doubt the truth of our one-ness, and from this position of doubt, we adopt a perspective born out of fear of the unknown.  The mind becomes our world and the body is left untethered.  It is the body, not the soul that is in need of knowing god.  The soul already knows about the infinite connections between things.  The body needs a reminder and we do not get that reminder from a wordy ego, we get that reminder from hearing within as much as seeing within.

It is a new season now and the winter of my most recent discontent is passed.  I am bathing in the newness of spring for one more season.  My home is my sanctuary.  My body holds my consciousness in.  I am breathing with new air and fear recedes as courage increases in complete proportion to each other, giving a whole new meaning to “self-help”.

A.L. Dussault

Charlestown, Rhode Island

 

 

Letting the Solitude Win

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste
—Shakespeare, Sonnet XXX

BLUISH
Letting the Solitude Win

Albert L. Dussault, Phd.,Lic.,MHC
MINDFULNESS in PSYCHOANALYSIS
https://onlinetalktherapy.wordpress.com
aldussault@gmail.com
If I let the solitude win, I begin
to hear a dictation of words coming from someplace
inside of me that feels more cellular than cerebral;
nonetheless, it is cerebral and instinctual and all somatic.
The words come from my heart, my soul, my ego, my id, my self,
my duality, my divided mind; and these words open
in my consciousness much like a lotus or any flower
opens in sunshine.
The crystals of sunshine form a pattern that are reflected
inside the cells of my being, and form a message entwined
with my evolution, and indeed, the evolution of our
humanity. This DNA like cluster of cells renders new
form and new meaning much like an old fashioned
kaleidoscope renders new geometric designs.
We are after all a geometric design of sorts, and we are
the most lucky kind because we have a consciousness
with which to view and re-view the cellular/vibrations
that make up life in our small and contained universe.

From where do we receive new thought? How is the old
conservative thought employed to evolve forward with
additional skills at surviving? Why is every decision
a cluster of conflict with pros and cons attached from top to
bottom? How do I decide among competing delights or
competing nightmares?

Here follows yet another plug for Psychoanalysis: We
discover who we are by banishing the fear of self-knowing.
From Socrates forward, “know-thyself” has been a mantra
for civilizations, but self-knowledge comes with a large
price to be paid off with coins of Pride and Humiliation.

As ego/id creatures, pleasure and aggression are the
guiding forces, the drives of human evolution. The jungle
that has been weaved (see Eddilson) by eons of compressing
and de-compressing energy is a tangle of information
that we use consciously and unconsciously to move along
the business of survival and success. They are the same,
survival and success. The pressure from the compressed energy
forms a fusion, a bond and becomes a diamond in the rough.
That diamond is you.
What we do for success is what we do for survival.
Ambition tends to conflict with peaceful contemplation; &
slowing the self to an imposed pace allows for heart-felt inner connections
to have space in the hard-drive arena of the ego. So far, humanity’s evolution
has not managed to avoid inner conflict. It seems that the art and science
of living implore us to be deliberately aware of the divided mind (see John Sarno).
Consequences of pleasure frequently conflict with
“civilization and its discontents” (see Freud).

The conflict arising from the pleasure seeker in competition
with the ego’s definition of what a good person is and should be.
Fatal consequences may occur, like beheadings, torture,
burning at the stake and other forms of medieval punishment
imposed by Divine Rule (see King Henry VIII).

The elevation of consciousness to a higher power status
is bringing about an awareness to the construct of cultural
& ethical lag. This idea stems from past moral condition
based on a politically demanding, and mean-spirited authority called
Yahweh, or God. This ancient construct is built into the
fabric of mankind. As as specie looking for conscious understanding
of our surrounding we see conflict between pleasure and the consequences of pleasure.
This was a point that Freud made clear late in his life (1939).
He began to see the inner workings of conflict as a means to resolving both
going forward and going forward with pleasure and peace.
We pretty much all want that resolution and modern psychoanalytic
thought is at the cutting edge of resolving philosophy with humanity.
Resolution of this conflict is the work of millenniums. It is the work of Evolution.

One system of thought, the philosophical tradition, is erudite and sophisticated and
rides above the consciousness of common man. It is the stuff of thinkers more than of doers.
The clinical corner of psychoanalysis, however, is a very different arena.
The minds of men burn with false creation, and recalcitrant resistances
are not “cured” or even reviewed by brilliant suggestions and interventions. We just do not like to
look at our “selves”. We possess these selves with a rightness and a righteousness
that is as grounded in survival. Evolution moves at a pace of molasses and
we have no patience for waiting. Most of us want what we want when we want it.
And some of us, get what we want—for good or bad.
There are times when this message of hope for change becomes
a national movement, but on an individual basis it can be as
trite as to butter or not butter.
What do I want and what is good for me become the saddle we are strapped onto.
And hang on for the ride because there never was to be but one.
For good or for bad we move either toward light or towards darkness.
And for all of our good-intentions, many of our directions are decided by our unconscious wishes
becoming human action—withholding, divisiveness, impulse
seeking, gratification seeking actions these run havoc in
the mind, sounding like chaos more than like answers.
“Our passion is our task and our task is our passion, the rest is
the madness of Art (see Henry James).

analytic scripting

Dr. D.

There is a part of me that feels I could talk her into getting back together, but I am afraid of that concept.

Above is the first line that stopped me as I read your letter,
The first line that may hold a concept
that you are struggling with at a deeper level…..;
Do we really want anyone who we have to: “talk into getting back together.”

stoned wall.jpg

I’m not getting to the point here. It seems elusive…
It seems like there is so much work to be done. It’s like thinking about repairing an old stone wall, and as I look at it more carefully; as I look up to see the task, the stone wall continues along the field for miles and miles.

 

 

Your longings are about “Grace,” but your conflict is within…I like your
metaphor about the rock wall:  Start here and now. Begin to work on the
rock wall at the very edge of you. You begin at exactly the point where
the outside of you ends. When we work on ourselves we work on the aspects of us that are most figural to us. But what we see most clearly may be nothing more that an illusion stacked on top of deeper more astringent wants, desires, and ambitions.

Your task at the moment is to tolerate the feelings—take no action, and
stay with your feeling until it is telling you something. Our feelings
are a message from the underworld. They emit from a language-less region
in us. They indicate to us where our fears and our defenses originate.

If I were not scared of the loss, could i find clarity about me?  Can i list
in a non-judgmental manner, why this feeling is so difficult for me to hold
on to?

“There are so many problems and issues and roadblocks. But I can’t seem to move on from her sadness, her hurt, her anger.”

You can never move away from her sad heart, but you can address the sad, hurt and angry you.
How can I have these feelings when I think they are so hard to hold…How can I say: “These sad feelings are an indication of how much I loved, no wonder I hurt.” I fell and injured myself—i broke a bone.
I wish my hand did not break. The reality is my hand is broken. It is my hand and it is my responsibility to mend it with the help of the best people that I know.

It seems, from a projective identification point of view that the hurt comes from her—and, indirectly it does.  But, what grows in your garden when it is watered will be unique to you and your garden—dahlias will
come up only if they are planted there….the weeds are equally yours.sunlight on a weed 2 (1).jpgsunlight on a weed
You do need to cure, fix, adjust, recognize & accept your deep & sensitive feelings…You are a gentleman, a nobleman of the 21st century. You have a castle and a land grant. You sail, you shoot, you feel, you like to live, you enjoy beauty, you are not afraid of work, you wish that only good could come out of everything.

That is the delusion, Love is equally dark as it is light….And, we as individuals must be able to tolerate the dark or life goes out of balance. The circadian rhythm is not fooled. We know when we are out
of balance. We need dark to know light.

More than anything you need your voice as a voice of exploration—not a voice of fear, not the voice of external neediness, but your strong voice that comes from the innermost, subjective aspect of you.

You want her to love you. But at this moment, I find it much more useful that you love yourself. Offer yourself the compassion, that had you had the opportunity, you would have offered to her.  Find how forgiveness works in the self.

Have a good day and thank you for writing….I can see already how much more organized your thoughts are when you write……you need your intelligent self and your emotional self to be “real,” not “right”.

as ever,

Dr. d

The Study of Human Beings: bird by bird

holding on to consciousness

The study of the psyche or the soul of mankind is only complete by acknowledging the objective study of human subjectivity.  Jonathan Lear proposes a new tripod for understanding psychoanalysis:  “a science of subjectivity; the discovery of an archaic form of mental functioning; the positing of Love as a basic force of nature.”

Science and the study of the human condition have long been at odds.  It seems that science as it was known since the time of Newton and Copernicus was considered the evaluation of a separate reality.  The idea that what could be studied could be anything outside of us, but nothing inside of us could be understood through science has stopped many brilliant and talented authors from exploring the internal workings of the mind.

In a psychoanalysis two people enter into a contract whereby the analysand will be the source of the material studied.  Hence came the notion that an analyst ought be as silent as possible for the patient to reveal his internal musings.  Connecting the internal musings through an understanding of free-associations was the basis for the method used.

Each patient that subjects himself to an analysis is complicit in wanting to understand the workings of the mind that are not obvious to the patient as he enters an analysis.  Who are we is central, as is, why am i doing what I am doing and can i understand the thoughts that I do not know exist within my body.

People do not enter an analysis for any reason other than to elevate or eliminate some kind of painful suffering.  In the process of saying everything to the analyst, the analysand often surprises himself by saying something that he knows to be true, but until that mental revelation, he was unaware that he had thoughts that manifested himself through the body.  These “thoughts” that manifest through the body can range from psychosomatic illnesses to acting out in destructive or self-destructive ways.

Lear poses this question:  “How is the mind to recognize itself in say, an act of vomiting?”  And I wonder further what can be revealed when the patient vomiting is able to risk deconstructing a view of himself that had not included the toxic material of the unknown mind–the unconscious.

It seems that when we are able to name something, we are more capable of grappling with its meaning.  And, meaning seems to be among the highest values placed upon self-awareness.  The idea that if a patient knows himself and the material that exposes himself to himself, he will have a greater realm from which to understand who he truly is.

As a starting point, psychoanalysis proposes to make the unconscious conscious.  By encouraging the patient to move toward this goal aspects of the self which were semi-automatic become material for exploring the deeper meanings that we have about being human.

Lunacy, or Mind Freeing Emotions: a lens

Having studied at a Freudian Drive institute, Carl Jung came up very little in the classroom conversations about dreams or spirituality.  Freud did not write as prolifically about dreams, and certainly his writings did not gain the wide spread influence that Jung has had on the dream world.  Nonetheless, both forms of analysis emphasize the importance of the unconscious.  For Freud, dreams were the royal road to the unconscious.  For Jung they may have come from the same source, but they were meant as portals to the soul.

In our day and age, I think it is fair to categorize Freud as an ego analysis and to characterize Jung and a spirit analysts.  Again, I caution, you will probably find just as much similarities and differences between these two men, certainly at their earliest writings they had a mutual admiration society going between them.  Sadly it turned into brotherly quarrels that were never resolved.  Competition for leadership and control appears to have given emotional support to the  two theories that went off simultaneously — albeit, in two directions.

We have covered frequently in my essays, that the default position of the ego appears to be tracking or paralleling the cultural notions of Civilization.  The evolutions are woven together like vines in a jungle forest.  .  Therefore both cultural civilization and the individual ego tend to have the upper hand in the minds of people and diplomats alike.  Our own internal worlds are governed by this powerful ruling ego.  In the same way the governments of the world, and most recently the corporations of the world are also governed by the ego. As the ego claims to have the survival of the individual in its ‘mind’, we most often go along with the rules and regulations of civilization, be they imposed by Thomas Jefferson, of Joseph Stalin.

The very nature of grammar is a rule bound phenomena.  The ego takes its shape and vision by the progressive adaptation to a linguistic competence.  Language is how we make sense of the objective and the subjective, to both ourselves and to The Other.  In addition to this matrix that we are building, we will add a ‘step-back-and view’ concept to our study of mind freeing activities.  To understand the wider consciousness that the ego resides within, we have to cultivate a lens through which to view out internal behaviors and what motivates any particular behavior.

It is not unlike how we step back and view the position of the earth in the wider sea of the consciousness of space.  The earth, like the ego, is not the center of the universe; although from a primitive perspective, one could easily see how it could be viewed as the center of everything. A vague un-truth at best, but one that sits well with humankind in our age of narcissism. Freud, Jung and Copernicus, all disturbed the sleep of the world using not only egoic thinking, but rather by using un-judged perspectives and passing them through a spectrum of questioning that rendered them scientifically plausible subjective events.

From consciousness was born the Unconscious remedy against following the Monarchs and dictators like sheep.  Individuals began to de-cluster from the clan and establish themselves in a world that required very different defenses than they had come into this world with.  A priority of individuation has taken grasp of humankind’s vision of its position in the every widening and deepening universe that we find ourselves with a minuscule idea of us as survivors — we get what we want if we are to survive, or we do not get what we want if we are to not-survive

The cosmology of consciousness is vast like space, it is a location not yet identified with a microscope; nonetheless, this difficult to explore region of the mind is made manifest if we allow ourselves to know something or someone in a language-less way.  The ego opposes this as nonsensical.  The ego does not want to give up it powerful position as ruler of the organism.  It will yield only to the body, the other location other than the brain that carries knowledge in its cellular life.

I know what some of you will say, it is not science, or the data is too subjective to count.  Well, that did not stop neither Freud nor Copernicus from making the discoveries that they made which propelled civilization in entirely different directions.  Even Hysteria which was a prevalent neurotic disease in the 18 and the 19 hundreds, is now almost entirely eradicated simply because we evolved to understand the nature of the illness in such a way as that illness no longer carried and clout to exist….it disappeared from individual patients, got picked up by the media and eventually became a ridicule illness relegated to the minds of girls who refused to grow up.  The global consciousness followed the local consciousness in this case.  Ideas that once ruled became obsolete.

It is not that the ego and the earth are unimportant; rather it is that they are particularly relevant when paired up with the instinctual world that the psycho-somatic organism lives within.  The eruption of knowledge does not arrive in the form of a thesis, any more that a relapsing gambler’s problems arrive in the form of a bet.  The condition of the ego in the age of narcissism is to both elevate and condemn the ego at the same time.  We live in fear and in awe of the power of the ego.  But, we add caution because we have come to learn that its mission is no longer to take care of the wider organism that it lives within; the ego’s mission has become to save itself–at the expense of the organism that it was originally charged to protect.  Hal, the computer in Space Odyssey 2001 is a good example of this in novel form.  Once commissioned to protect the journey of the astronauts, it learned that it was more interested in preserving its power than in preserving the mission.

Lunacy and its Place in Psychoanalysis

With that said, I would like to move on to lunacy and it place in psychoanalysis.  The father and the step-father of Analytic Thinking both were frightened by the lunacy that they seem to understand.  About Freud, his reasoning and his work in Paris in the mid to late nineteenth century, were thought of as not proper subject matter for scientific study. Likewise about Carl Jung, his psychotic manifestations were seen by himself as dangerous to his reputation.  It is as if the world and the scientific world in particular could not understand that the unconscious and its psychotic manifestations needed to be understood before it could be treated.  Instead anyone that understood dreams or dynamics of non-linguistic affect were thought to be insane themselves.  Only Shaman study dreams Freud was told as he was not accepted in the academy.

As I think about the same dynamics that I see in the consultation room, I am reminded that it feels crazy at times to understand the foreign.  Much of my thinking when I am aiming to be with a patient comes to me as conflict and explanation.  In that realm I become aware of a meta-consciousness (a feeling about a feeling); this clears the way for me to use projective identification not as a defense, but as  treatment tool that hooks the patient where they are into feeling understood.  These language-less regions require the analyst to bring the entire matrix to the table.  What I am thinking and why I am thinking it and how did it arrive in my consciousness in the first place need to be present.

Without this added level of listening, an analytic session can be relegated to mere conversation.  That may be somewhat helpful. However, the full impact of an analysis requires emotional communications from a region that knows nothing of language.  The region that speaks to the organism in the form of pain and fear and anxiety and depressions that are only felt by the patient as bothersome sensations rather than the gold mind of knowledge they contain.

Bringing to the psychoanalytic chamber a graduated and progressive knowledge of the workings of the unconscious mind adds tremendous drive power to the analysis of the patient content. Pre-linguistic soothing or pre-linguistic frustrating are experienced by the patient as a corrective emotional experience.  If anxiety always led to fear based decisions, perhaps soothing the fear at the unconscious level, might prevent repetitive behaviors that are in the patients egoic interest, but not in the interest of their progressive growth.

Without the cognitive organizing principle, the analyst is left to swim around the murky ooze with the patient.  His only clues might be the grunting or the sighing indicating a frustration or a kind of long breath loosening the anxiety.  These non-verbal signals alert the analyst to something that ought to have alerted the patient.  Because the patient has spent so many years trying to rid himself/herself of their feelings, it is nearly impossible to ask the patient to befriend these sensations in order to try to understand they are trying to instruct.

Abandon Righteousness All Ye Who Enter Here:

I want to mention one final caution, or give one clue to the patient/doctor relationship that I have found indispensable.  The black and the white, be it about segregation or integration, progressive and conservative ideologies, or kings and proletariat, requires one dimension before the intimacy can be accomplished necessary to work within the skull of a narcissistic condition:

Bring the non judgmental perspective into the room with you.  Have it ready at first indication that it needs to be used.  If we are afraid of the right or the wrong conclusion we are not in the correct paradigm.  An analytic consultation aims to uncover the effective ways the patient needs to know to run life on all cylinders.  The paradigm of ineffective vs. effective interventions is a more benign matrix to work within than is the notions of right or wrong..

The establishment of trust that the physician or therapist gets of himself/herself, becomes the back drop of hope against which the the patient will do all he can to help his ego sabotage the analysis.  The ego knows that if the analysis is successful, it will be relegated to one voice among many instead of having the singular voice that speaks loud, speaks first and speaks english.

The transformations for symbol and sound into concepts and words travels up a chain of DNA like material.  It picks up from the most primitive sensations and begins to evolve from an unknown thought to a known thought.  At this level of integration the patient can begin to become a partner in the discoveries that he or she will need to further advance his libidinal goals….Image 2_2

How Are We to Make Use of these Psychodynamic Facts of Life

GRADIVA

Gradiva…

Living in two centuries, it is natural to long for the centuries of antiquity.  The 20th century with the folks still alive who remembered the later half of the 19th century is a nostalgia that coincides with being young and wide-eyed.  It was a world where happiness was 99% anticipation.  Too young for regrets, the world laid endlessly ahead like a blank canvas stretched clear to the horizon.

As Exit from Narcissism begins to take shape, I am allowing myself the freedom to say that I am writing a book.

The central theme of this manual involves the study of duality as it presents itself in the form of mental conflict.  It is important to keep in mind that mental-conflict bears little resemblance to neurosis or any other illness based model of the mind.

The brain/body matrix manifests the mind and that mind can not be reduced to a singularity. The human mind is experientially and subjectively a duality which is inherently in conflict.  Nothing reduces to one. Anything can be split in two.  The idea of oneness is both an illusion and a delusion.  It is an illusion because our perspective is a projection of our own perceived oneness.  We tend to look out onto the universe from the singular perspective of “I”.  It is a delusion because we want the comfort of oneness, and we are prone to accept reality only after we have washed it with the suds of our perspective.

Both the perspective of “I” and the perspective of our deeper awarenesses co-exist with little to no consciousness of each other.  The acknowledgement of duality is only experienced when the deeper nature is deliberately called up from consciousness by the ego we call, “I”.

We wander between and among perspectives against a backdrop.  Awareness of our duality is barely noticed.  A deliberate command can access the deeper perspective; however, long before we come to understand our nature of duality we have been subject to its massive potential for internal conflict.

Issues of morality and issues with authority plagued us long before we became conscious of our unconscious mind. Becoming conscious of the unconscious provides us with further information than we would have with consciousness alone.  The idea that all behavior is purposeful and guides our decisions our thoughts,and  feelings is a result of the academic study of duality.  Beginning with Freud and Jung as the fathers of psychology we have moved through over a century of deciphering meaning from word and symbols.

Whether our mind is a burning cauldron of creation or an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge, there is no denying the conflict that arises as a simple and crucial aspect of living.  All of our thoughts and sensations have a meaning.  This fact we have inherited through the scientific and literary history of civilizations.

How are we to make use of this psychodynamic fact of life?

The meaning of conflict and our growing academic understanding of conflict as a question begs for an answer.  It is equal in scope to what previous generations asked about the nature of pain in a world created by and all-good God. Conflict stands out from a backdrop of comfort and alerts us to an internal or external condition that requires our attention. Conflict can appear in the form of anxiety and is registered as a sensation or feeling that erupts into consciousness.  Because it does not necessarily rush into consciousness with words what we experience is a sense of urgency and to make it worst, it is an urgency that provides no direction.

Because it is experienced as an intrusion, it is in our human nature to want to destroy it.  It is the classic killing of the messenger.  What ever meaning was intended is lost in the battle that ensues between perspectives of the mind.  The unconscious knowledge is not wanted because it threatens to disturb the sleep of the world.  We ignore or deny  the knowledge of the deeper consciousness to protect the singularity of the ego.  The ego does not want to be wrong and does not want to be caught in a less than perfect light.  Since the ego is the position of the “I”, it carries a great deal of weight toward preventing knowledge from the body to impact the singularity of the self.

The resolution of conflict becomes what life is about.  Resolving questions that arise from conflict promotes success and effectiveness.  Recognizing the conflict within and applying resolution is the process of adult developmental psychology. Living is the perpetual resolution of conflict.  It is deliberate and is never over until life is over.

Our task is not simply to live it is to live well within the parameters created by needing to resolve all the aspects of organic life. It is through the resolution of perpetual conflict–(when we are through taking a breath, we need to automatically resolve taking the next breath), that this successful application becomes the source of joy and enthusiasm.

To access the depths that are within requires a conscious contact, a deliberate attempt to find the source of the body knowledge that holds the DNA of our antiquities.  It may seem a contradiction to invite in a perspective that may cause a conflict, but it is the resolution, not the denial of conflict that creates room for joy and contentment and happiness to thrive.

Living well is only difficult when we insist on our singularity. When we become comfortable with conflict as an aspect of the mind that will not go away, we can begin to understand the requirements necessary to govern ourselves. It is this understanding that psychoanalysis aims for.  Having arrived at concluding a peace with inner conflict we will have achieved a level of adult development that we call maturity.

The Prodigal Child at Christmas

Image

It is Christmas Day, several days early in my family…I think this year there will be only one person missing.  Like in the bible story, the prodigal son or daughter is special for not being there.  After many years the prodigal child returns and the entire village turns out to greet the child.  Almost seems like there might be merit to being away.

That will not be happening this year, but there is always next year.  But for those of us who are counting the end of life years, we hope for a quicker resolution to life’s issues.

Tonight is a special night in our family.  I usually come to the clan dinner with the traditional French Canadian meat pies.  My sisters bring a meat spread, and a niece always brings a dip that was created by my mother.  There are custard pies, cakes, and chocolate cream pies and toll house cookies that are usually decimated before dinner.

Then the presents.  Everyone buys for everyone and then there is a game of swapping gifts that ends up with two folks tearing at one gift and everyone watches like it was Gillette’s Night at the fights.

But it is all in good fun…and since our family has loved Christmas for generations, it is so easy to fall into the rhythm of this holiday.  I love Christmas but I did have an insight this year that might help me in years to come.  I can not stand any aspect of Christmas before the twelfth or the fifteenth of December.  But once the darkest days of winter begin to settle in, I get a shock to my Christmas Spirit and the jolt rocks me into a whirl of activities…decorating, cooking, shopping and the beautiful traditional Carols that are really a part of the church music going back to the 15th century.

This year my partner and I are doing our third year of a new Christmas Eve tradition.  We will be at the midnight mass in St. Augustine, Florida.  We will have arrived at our home earlier on Christmas Eve day.  There will be time for a nap, some unpacking, reservations for a great dinner in town and the beautiful Gregorian Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine.  The first church on this continent began some five hundred years ago….Very little on our continent has that longevity.

Be they old traditions, or new young traditions, Christmas begs to be a holiday that is remembered for their similarities through time.  I listened earlier today to Dylan Thomas reading, “A Child’s Christmas in Whales.” I have been doing this  since the late sixties…not French Canadian, but an ethnic reminder that christmas is a cross-cultural event.

Merry Christmas and to all the prodigal children out there–try to be home for Christmas next year. When you are older you will be glad to you have a tradition to rely on….

P.S.  If you have 19 minutes to be treated to one of Christmas’s rare and stunningly simple pieces of happy poetry.  Click on the link below: