I found this poem on the web and i thought it applied significantly to how we can convert a feeling like sadness to anger, or fear to hopelessness. I thought that it touched not only on the actual feelings that we struggle with, but that kindness seems to be working in this piece as a solution, one more tool in the psychoanalytic kit for emerging from narcissism.
I certainly have had the experience of having my future dissolve in a moment. Many of us have–sometimes in relation to a massive tragedy and other times in relation to a minor inconvenience. The point is that we have a capacity to witness the process of watching our mood slowly follow a thought into the deep darkness of the recesses of our minds. Once in a regressed state it is so hard to figure a way out.
What I have been suggesting is that we know ourselves well enough to know that we will be deposited, we will slide back, we will find ourselves in some state of helpless or hopeless emotional turmoil again. It is inevitable.
If we have believed in the process of practice, we have such a betters chance of noticing the bad feeling as a cue, as a warning that we are not in the state of well-being that is such wonderful place from which to live life. If we practice how to emerge from narcissism even before we slide back into it we will see that from within the darkness we have a remembered well-Ness that can assist us to finding our way out of sever internal conflict that appears to be about something happening in the world but is happening as a conflict within.
I think of remembered well ness as a psychoanalytic tool, but it is a tool used by Buddhist and mindfullness teachers and spiritual leaders as well as cognitive behaviorist psychologist. I think of remembered well ness as a tool of the universe, as a gift to the human condition. But it is a tool that must be practiced to be useful. If you were born with the potential of being a fine pianist but you never practiced playing the piano chances of you becoming a fine musician are slim.
A similar talent or gift is our cognitive ability to reach down into the recesses of our linguistic competence and begin to apply new feeling/thoughts to our psyche. The application of a better feeling thought to a psychic wound is like an ice-pack on a bodily wound. It causes a degree of soothing that allows us to begin to think that we are already healing from the wound. The application of a better linguistic thought does more that shift words around it gives us the capacity to shift moods around. In this scenario a fowl mood is simply an alert to the mind that we are needing to shift our thinking and make it more accurately fit the experience of well-being that so many of us have spend a life time searching for.
The poem that follows is about Kindness, but it is about so much more that kindness alone. I hope you enjoy it.
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
Dr. Albert Dussault