extinguishing the flame & pursuing the passion

My first passion, what I use to call my constant factor was the sea……

Passions, the the sinews of human strength, the connecting tissue and tendons not only of the human organism, but macrocosmically the very web of inter-being, interconnectedness — the fabric of human civilization.  Passion, or, if you like its more common name desire, is The Source of our spiritual dynamics.

I would like to talk this morning about how I experience my passions and how I see human resistances play themselves out in limiting our reach and limiting our capacity for contentment with life.  This is a gift to my readers in that I promise not to spin-off into some political rant.  I promise to leave the other greater motivator of action out of this morning’s essay.  Well, perhaps I should at least name the other passion.  I will not be writing about: AGGERSSION.

O.k., I have introduced this morning topic: Passions.  It is interesting to recommend the word “passion” to a patient in analysis.  It is frequently met with dubious caution.  I find it curious that passions are often equated to shame.  It is mind-boggling how many people feel that their own passions should not see the light of day.  I mean people often feel that they have no right to what is their private and personal desire.

It is not alright for me to want something that my mother does not want me to want.  I am not unconsciously free to want something that the majority of society does not want me to want.  Desires are often hidden from the self’s ego as vehemently as they are hidden from friends and colleagues.  To the  extent  that desires are equated, rightfully, with the template of sexual urges, and to the extent to which an individuals’ urges are understood as metaphors of our biology, people are afraid to parade themselves naked in the world.

I understand–believe me, I get it.  It is very difficult to parade an erection.  It is just too, too clear.   Their is seemingly an inherent shame in parading my desires in public.  But, there is a very huge danger in turning our own backs on our own desires.  The universe needs to hear from us clearly.  Because, it is evident that we are always getting what we want, and if we are stuck in our own ambivalence, we will be receiving from the universe the very ambivalence that we are shinning.

I am forever reconciling the “laws of attraction” with the “laws of psychoanalysis”.  I do this because I find myself unwilling to abandon science in order to embrace my Dynamic Spirituality.  The other side is equally true, I am no longer willing to feel shame over my desire to embrace my spiritual nature.  In order to maintain the reconciliation that I want, I have to keep moderating my divided mind.

In Dynamic Spirituality, I take into consideration my experiential perceptions.  I take into consideration what I see and what I feel.  In the dynamics of psychoanalytic thinking, I take into consideration a host of visions, a multitude of data and look at this string of events that might point to a pattern to be noticed.  Both forms of registering data are requiring my natural powers of observation but one is attached to observing events outside of me, while the other is attached to observing events inside of me.

I do not blame you, dear reader, for being frustrated with my pace.  I am five-hundred words into this essay and I have not coalesced on what I mean to say.  Stay with me, please,  because I do think that this essay needs to stand on its own so some review of concepts are necessary.  SEX & AGGRESSION are the corner stone of analytic motivation. Psychoanalysis, in need of much isolation  from psychotherapy, utilizes the biological template for survival of the specie and self preservation as the evolutionary underpinnings for the use of emotions as the compass of human behavior.

Along with this law of analysis, comes a need to be able to register emotions both from our selves and from others.  That means that the accurate “reading” of emotions is necessary for us to engage with the universe in a self-preserving manner. To a large extent right-action, a term from eastern philosophy, is dependent on right-perception.  And right perception is experiences subjectively by us as a bodily sensation.  Perception is registered with the senses, but “right-perception” is an internal judgement that we move towards in life as our wisdom becomes more of an instinct and our egoic impulses become experienced less urgently.

In a very general and generic kind of way, emotions can be boldly made to fit into one of only two camps.  An emotion is registered as either feeling good or feeling bad.  When I am in neutral I am not at that moment experiencing a feeling. However, as I move my hand closer and closer to the flame of a fire, I begin to experience a sensation that my body is registering as negative.  That negative sensation, in this case, we recognize as pain.  And, although we do not like the phenomenological experience of pain–a negative feeling, we can also witness that pain, in this example, as a cue or a warning that we must change the direction that our hand is moving in.  Essentially it is a physical anxiety in the form of an urgent request from the body to the mind to remove the hand from its proximity to the flame.

That is how emotions work for the body.  A negative sensation is a cue or a clue that we are not aiming in the right direction.  In the case of the hand and the fire it is pretty clear what and why the feeling is sending that sensation to the brain.  Were we to ignore or for some other reason be unable to ignore the body’s request to be removed from the flame it would be very shortly consumed in a massive amount of pain and eventually the body would be consumed and death of the organism would occur.

The negative emotions are engaged to help the body to survive against an onslaught of conditions that could harm it.  In like manner positive emotions, thought seldom experienced with the same urgency as pain, are also a signal to the organism.  Positive emotions alert the body to the idea that it is experiencing a sense of well-being.  When we are doing something that we like the body feels content.  This sensation of contentment can be either experienced passively or actively.  In Spiritual Dynamics, I would argue that the extent to which we are willing and able to consciously feel the well being is the extent to which we are able to experience gratitude and the commensurate desire for “more” positive sensations fulfills the requirements of the “law of attraction” that good feeling thoughts tend to attach themselves to new good feeling thoughts.

As we move away from the flame and learn to stay away from conditions that cause negativity, we become ever more adept at wanting the feeling of well-being to characterize our lives.  In my language of Spiritual Dynamics I would call this wisdom,  As we approach knowing for ourselves what the truth about our passions are and our willingness grows in the direction of wanting more good-feeling thoughts, we begin to understand that a truth and a wisdom does exist that we can experientially tap into.

In both psychoanalysis and in spiritual dynamics the aim is for the organism, the body, is to be in a state of grace.  By grace I mean a state in which one does not feel at odds with nature.  I am wanting for myself, and that want is in cooperation with both the aims of civilization and the aims of my personal passions.  The alignment  and the oneness of my desire is attuned with both the laws of nature and the laws of personal attraction.

In another essay, I will explore in greater detail what the resistances are to being in, and remaining in, a state of grace. That is a state of well being in which one’s mental health is clearly understood.  A well analyzed person understands not only what he or she wants, but exactly how at the same time one may be destroying the wishes, killing the dreams that are not sufficiently grounded in passion.

I have a passion for writing……….

6 comments on “extinguishing the flame & pursuing the passion

  1. Amber says:

    This essay really resonated with me. I especially liked this: “Were we to ignore or for some other reason be unable to ignore the body’s request to be removed from the flame it would be very shortly consumed in a massive amount of pain and eventually the body would be consumed and death of the organism would occur.”

    Would you say that feelings and emotions are the same thing? Are they our body’s requests? So, if we are doing something that is making us sad, our body’s request is to stop doing the thing that is making us sad? If yes to all of that, what do we do about fear? If our body is feeling fear and screaming out to us “stop, this is scary”…do we listen to our body’s request? What if this fear is preventing us from doing something beneficial to us? For example, 1) fear of failure to achieve more or 2) fear of going to that happy hour because large groups scares you but you know it would be a great networking opportunity and benefit you. When do we know which of the feelings/body’s requests to respond to?

    • aldussault says:

      all feelings are emotions arising from the body attempting to tell us something. we need to first decide is the emotion a positive feeling emotion or a negative feeling emotion…
      it is is positive we are probably experiencing well-being, but if it registers negative we ought to stop and reflect on the meaning of the communication
      from the body to the mind….
      it is in the reflecting == in the stillness, reflecting the meaning that we get a clearer answer.
      the response to a feeling ought not be an action…it ought to be a sign that we need to respect the feeling and reflect…a new feeling thought will emerge that will also pass or flunk the test of positive or negative…..we repeat this…as you know this is a short answer and feel free to write to me in an e mail if you would like to discuss details…dr. d

  2. Collette Williams says:

    We’re both writers. I never knew the depth of your writing desire before your blogs. Was it the writer/story-teller/muse in you that tolerated my scroll-length writings because you penned them yourself? My mentor is teaching me that “one is a banquet.” I’ve long desired to cull out run-on passages in my oral and written musings. That said, I picked one sentence/thought that stood out for me in your blog: “In order to maintain the reconciliation that I want, I have to keep moderating my divided mind.” Such is the nature of all inner and outer world life … the Yin-yang justaposition of opposing forces in everything. There’s a tango dance between libido and aggression in all that’s divisible, including the divided mind. Somehow, during the friction dance, opposing forces ingnite a spark. It’s the spark that infuses or difuses life force into the universe. I don’t know how – but I believe it’s the model the Maker had in mind. … profound to me that the only two things that aren’t divisible are silence and God.

    • aldussault says:

      thank you for leaving such thought-full, provocative discussion..you have added a layer of depth with your comments.

      profound to me that the only two things that aren’t divisible are silence and God.

      i like that…..

  3. Ray says:

    We talk about being burned in a relationship, the flames of passion in love. As our wisdom allows, we pull away from the pains that litter life with our emotional refuse. What were sins are now necessities. Our penance is only to confess, our confession is that we love too well. Ray

    • al dussault says:

      you have such a capacity, such a passion for words yourself–are you still writing. I remember when we were young, how the passion for writing was so strong in both of us…
      I read an short essay and a poem at a recent gathering of artists..it was really fun to feel exposed and known as a writer and artist…only some forty years in the making

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