Hope, From This Moment On
Although the moment can at times appear completely against you, there really is nothing to fear about what is happening
in the current moment. If we take the idea of now as a starting point for where we go to next, the immediate moment is only an indication of where to start from. Regardless of how impaired we might feel, what we are feeling can, always can, provide you with an indication of direction.
It is as if we need to treat the current moment as a compass. The needle that point to due north establishes the direction from which
we just came. Were we to continue to do the same thing, that is, move in the same direction, we would continue expect no change. However it would be a very strange use of a compass to only use the needle pointing north as the direction to move toward. The compass allows us
to understand the variety of points and can provide us with data that we can use to create a direction that we want to move towards. But
the compass has nothing to do with providing the direction. it is like looking a large map spread out in front of you…establish where you are and the variety of directions and roads available to be traveled on emerges as nearly endless.
In other words the guidance that the compass provides is not that it tells us to go a particular direction. It simply informs us about
what directions are available. To use simply the needle of the compass would of course, defeat the use of that very valuable tool.
Because we always are at the very extreme end of “from where we have come,” we are always in a position to review our direction and make corrections that include our history and our dreams as the data we want to employ in determining the next step of our journey.
A second myth that we might look at in relation to this metaphor is this: Life is the journey not the destination. By this we mean that there is no place of arriving that feels finished and done with. As long as we breath and as long as we live we are not done with the journey. Life on earth was never meant to be a destination, at best it is a look-out point from where we can view the entire universe and thereby determine just how small and insignificant are our own personal actions. Infrequently are we so big that we can change the course of human events. Instead the good news about our smallness is that we are fairly liberated to do as we please and to move about in which ever manner gives us the best advantage and the most pleasure.
Self-care and selfishness have long been confused and this is especially true of our current day americanized culture. There long has been an ethical lag between doing what is best for us and doing what is best for the society at large. It was the conclusion of Freud’s work, Civilization and its Discontents, that points us to the perpetual problem of conflict within as the source of man’s anxiety. We want very badly that there be a bad guy out there to blame, but in actuality there is no one bad guy; rather, we confront on a daily basis a society, a civilization that operates within a massively dysfunctional system.
We can explore why this is so from a sociological point of view and from several psychological points of view, but the only point of view that can actually inform us in a meaningful way is to look at how and why we have abandoned our instincts for the generalized purpose of fitting-in to the society which cradles us. Of course, we see instantly that we need to have laws and rules in order for there to be a system of organization.
But, what if that very system of organization fails, what if like in our great banking crisis of 2008 we see the organization fold in front of us and we watch as a very few well organized people manage to horde all there is during the crisis so that when the crisis is over they have all the chips. We can all say, o.k. the game begins again. We lost this time and the big boys won. But it is not that simple because along with all the blue chips that these Wall Street boys took home they carried with them also the inherent ability to formulate all the rules for the next game insuring that they will win again.
In discussing the recent activities of the free-market system we can see the inherent flaw. We were asked to believe that all good men would regulate themselves in a manner to take care on not only themselves, but the greater society at large. And, expect for those rare conditions like the last banking crisis it works pretty well.
However, there are times in our life time and thought out history where we see that a system has become so corrupt that there is nothing left to do but to take care of yourself–move on, take as many good people with you who are willing to not resist and to come along. But in the long run you will have to leave many people and many belongings behind in order to save your own life.
This is not selfishness, this is self care and the system of self care is infrequently called upon and is therefore seen as the shy twin of selfishness. Because we do not define self-care differently than we define selfishness we have a tendency to place the entire concept in one bowl. We do not allow ourselves to have what we want and what we need from the universe because this business of ethical lag has lumped taking care of ourselves with the wicked twin of selfishness. We would be told that we are not playing by the social rules if we are selfish…
But the conundrum begins when we discover that the very people who are telling us to not be selfish are the same top-cats who are
running away with trillions of dollars of the middle class money. By the time we wake up to discover that Wall street knew very well what it was doing, it has run off with the horse and left the barn door wide open. Still some of us are reluctant to do what it takes in order
to salvage our own hides.
O.k., we just took a small diversion to a location where we discussed that it is possible for systems that we belong to fail and therefore we
fail along with the system. Now let’s return to the concept that we began to discuss which is the capacity that we always have to change directions.
From the position of this moment many of us are aware that we have been badly abused by a wealthy, greedy system that worked by buying off employees to do evil deeds by giving them large salaries and huge bonuses to turn a blind eye and follow the corporate mentality. We see
clearly now why the banks did not want us to foreclose. They could continue to collect on a bad debt and when you the customer are finally drained, they repossess the house and sell it to someone else who is not yet drained.
It really was that simple. The bitch of of it all is convincing fellow americans that the great divide between the corporate tops and the surfs at the bottom is only becoming wider and the wider it becomes the more of middle class falls forever into the great abyss of poverty with no social net. Some day the very people who could not understand legislation to help the poor will discover for themselves that the poor basket is not one from which one can easily jump…Once poverty belongs to the hordes there is only revolution that will cure the social ill.
Where does that put you and me? Where does it place well intentioned, well meaning people who need to regroup and discover a new
road on which to ride upon. The old road is gone. I was lifted with the gold that was stolen. So the gold is gone and so is the road it traveled on. We have to rely upon our own resources in order to find a brand new direction and road less traveled on and from that perspective make a life out of what we have and begin to dream from the location that we are in in this very moment.
When the chips are down, so to speak, we need to reestablish the position from which we locate hope. We must find the kernel, the seed inside of us that can be planted now for a harvest in the future. To stop now because the moment is not one we planned is to abandon your life. Instead rally around the point inside of you that is capable of holding onto a deliberate immediate intention. Allow for all resistances to to slide off of you like water from a duck’s back. Allow all the negative points of view to slip to the side making a conscious decision not to review possible catastrophes, rather focus in an a good feeling thought.
The point of a good feeling thought is similar to the say-everything demand in analysis. The manner to relieve ourselves of burden is to speak those burdens no matter what the consequence appears to be. To speak from an authentic position about yourself is difficult because we have been so long taught not to lay ourselves bare and vulnerable; but I think that that old commandment is wrong. It is only by relieving ourselves of the fullness of our thoughts and feelings that we find the peace that we need to move toward or next new dream. We abandon life when we stop wanting something from it. The self-care that is necessary to be be a leader in your field is the very same care that other people will need from you as direction.
Dr. A. L. Dussault, Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis