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

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

Heart-Felt Emotions

freud1

One might ask, Are not all emotions heart felt?  Maybe?  But I have a specific reason to be tapping the emotions in relation to the heart.  We hardly stop to think of emotions and heart as being an integrated aspect of nature.  Our spontaneous capacity for joy or sorrow, laughter or tears; or our wonder at the beauty or the horrors of life — these are the stuff that elevate our consciousness or dismantle our well-being.  I am inclined to believe that the information supplied by the heart and the body is significantly different from the information supplied by the mind and the brain.

Emotions have a great deal in common with feelings.  They both erupt from the body rather than erupt from the mind, and as such they are quicker on the draw.  They avalanche us, they seemingly attack us from the outside.  We hardly know from where they come and there is no organ in the body that operates like the brain does, so we are left with the notion of feeling and emotion happen to us.

We are, as a science, certain that emotions inform us, but unlike our thoughts, our feelings and emotions register as subjective experience rather than as objective data.  If I were to hold up a picture of a table you would not have an passioned response.  But let’s say that I were to hold up a picture of a forest on fire with several children seemingly trapped, you might have a visceral response.  One is a simple objective fact the other is charged with emotion.

We intuitively know the distinction between an objective thought and an impassioned emotion.  The most important function of a feeling is to inform the body of a condition that needs to be paid attention to…hunger, exhaustion, pain, these we recognize as sensations that encourage us to think about and to act in accordance with both the informed feeling and subsequently the informed thought.

Another major difference between a thought and a feeling is that the feeling rises to consciousness with no help from our mind.  Emotions tend to be independent and they rise out of experience as a sensation.  They are not formulated in language. They exist as a system of the body that is void of  language oriented thoughts.

In Western tradition, the heart felt instincts from which emotions and feelings arise are not cultivated as a product of much value.  We are trained to be rational.  We have even excluded the study of the subjective from scientific evaluation.  It is relegated to fringe disciplines most associated with self-help and new-age phenomena.  This is changing as the neuro sciences are breaking new sound barriers in the mind/body matrix.

It makes more sense now than ever to be re-awakening the foundational knowledge that Freud brought to the western hemisphere of civilization.  The neurology of his time over one hundred years ago reads like hieroglyphics.  But Freud’s metaphors of neurology are today’s cutting edge science.

The heart of the matter has never been more important than it is right now. Not only is our entire neural history carried in our hearts and minds, but our ancestral knowledge garnered from our parentage and eons back from that is also carried in our hearts and minds.

The heart of the matter, as I see it, resides in the knowledge that as an organism we possess a divided mind.  It is made up of instinct and ego, conscious and unconscious as well as thoughts and feelings, hormones and dendrites, mucus and sinew, with neuro-circutry connected in such a way that it operates more organically like a jungle than it does like a computer.

If the metaphor carries through, the rational thought runs like a computer, because it is what developed the computer.  The heart of the matter runs more like a jungle where instinct acts to help us survive and grow at the microcosm and the macrocosm of it; but it does not use language to convey its information to us.  It uses subjective sensation as the unit of communication.  A bird call, if you will.  Like in the jungle the bird call can be heard by all species, the proximity of the tiger is alerted by a bird call.

We need to locate within us the capacity to hear the bird call and to interpret it for its intended meaning.  We have no intention of throwing away the lap-top, but if I am walking through a jungle, I would like to think that the call of the wild is as easily readable  as the english characters in this computer screen.

The heart of the matter  has information as crucial to our survival as is the stuff of the manifested mind….

Awareness, Awakening & Deliberate Consciousness

From an early age some people feel either special, or different or know themselves to be out of sync with what they are seeing as the rest of the world.  Some people will come to attribute this to being gay, or black, or korean in an american society, or american in a canadian society. Some people will attribute it to a low self-esteem or a neurosis or a narcissism that has them holding back from participating in life to the extent that they would like to.  Unfortunately there are some folks among us that will never recover from ideas that they have held about themselves since before they can remember. On another spectrum there are people in wheel-chairs, on crutches, in braces or confined to bed or born with no arms or legs.  Some people will have no voice because of an accident and other will have no voice because of fear.  Some people recover from some of these tragedies and other people will never recover.  There are people who have been physically and sexually assaulted, people who have witnessed violence and wars and atrocities that we can hardly speak because they frighten us so.  Some of these people will be alright and some will remain bitter, regretful, guilty or remorseful for the rest of their days.

Why?  What is the basic ingredient that will turn a soul from a bitter and resentful existence into a better and will-full existence?

From my 40 plus years of exploration, I have not come up with one right answer.  The chances of there only being one answer is rather slim.  However, the chances of each individual finding the answer that is right for them, well, those odds are very strong.  The human spirit, the energy of humanism, the courage that each man and woman can summon to navigate through life is built into each one of us and that energy, that source energy can reveal itself to us in a multitude of ways, at anytime in our lives. I think we pretty much all know this.  Most of us who would think of reading this kind of essay are probably equally capable of writing this kind of essay.  We all have the right stuff in us to create in various way when we are ready to allow ourselves the advantage of awakening to our deeper instincts.  In order to do that, we have to be prepared to handle the aspect of us which has been our most faithful companion since we emerged from the womb.  We must be prepared to stand up to our egoic selves and be prepared to power through an almost bullying ego in order to catch a glimpse of the baser instincts which have been covered up by millenniums of social customs and acceptability standards which were necessary to establish civilizations. Freud, covers this topic in his last book, Civilization and Its Discontent. His thesis is simple.  If we want to live among humans we must abandon our more base instincts.  Man had to be toilet trained.  And from that “day” forward, we have essentially been expelled from the garden of eden.  We are only beginning to understand the travesty that we have created for ourselves as a human race.  We in this century have begun to explore new ways or reconnecting with instincts without that meaning that we need to sniff every butt in the park.

The establishment of the critical ego–I have to be either critical of you or I have to be critical of me, began with an evolution toward covering the innate intelligence of the instincts.  During the devastating tsunami that occurred in Indonesia several years back we heard time and time again that the animals that were loose all made it to high ground.  They had an instinctual rhythm that was disturbed by the on coming tsunami.  Humans have indadvertedly covered up that instinct in the effort to combine forces and reach for a power that comes in numbers. I need to caution myself here.  I want to make certain that I do not devolve into the devaluation of the ego which in many ways was the responsible organ for all the development that earth has to be proud of.  But it is an easy thing to do because despite the generosity  of egoic man, the very ego that taught us to walk and talk and associate and synthesize, is the ego that built itself up on top of the valuable instinctual resources of our deeper human spirit. In reading Eckhart Tolle and other spiritualist of our age and of ages past, we frequently get the idea that there needs to be a bad guy, even in discussing the intricacies of the human condition we appear to look for the good, but are more inclined to find the bad and the ugly. The ego is not an evil entity that we must rid ourselves of, but it is a large budging apparatus that hides from plain view the instincts of the human heart.  (Be advised that human heart is a metaphor, and any word that suits you can be substituted).  The material of the heart of man is a different material than the thoughts of man.  Both are significantly impossible to find or to locate in space and time, and both contribute different knowledge to help us to navigate our way here on planet earth. However, from the very beginning of each of our lives the ego has received tremendous support from institutions, schools, parents, friends and all kinds of interactions that we have with and in our world.  The instincts on the other hand were treated as the poor country cousin and were made to behave in such a way that they were effectively silenced. Awareness, awakening, spiritual insight and words to that effect are cropping up in our world as we begin to feel that in order to move toward joy and happiness, we have to push the ego out of its position of prominence and at least give equal coverage to instinctual matters of the heart. The egoic consciousness is as familiar to us as the A, B C’s of our language.  The instincts and the passions and the drives are so powerful that they were asked millenniums ago to take a back seat so that civilizations could grow.

But, what if the very power that frightened us because we had little control over impulses and instincts when we were barely evolved several steps ahead of the alligator, what if that same power of the instinct could be harnessed for good, for healing and for joy.  It appears to be a good possibility that the instincts were greatly complicated by the impulses and that it was not until the ego aspect of the psychic apparatus were able to modulate and mediate between the ego and the instincts that man was able to come together in community.

Where we are today in the evolution of the human mind is not where we were 10,000 years ago. And in some respects it is not where it was 100 years ago either.  A massive shift in human energy is beginning to take form and from more corners of the world we are seeing that the buried instincts were not only about sex and aggression in their raw condition.  The drives of sex and aggression are also prototypes for love and curiosity & creativity.  In fact when the two raw drives are fused together sex and aggression can have a powerful impact on our self determination.

Creativity and co-creation are words that accompany us today.  People are searching not only for an out-come, but are searching for a community in which the very process of creativity is respected and held in high esteem.  Creative community building through supportive group efforts are cropping up all over as aspects of sustainability projects.  We know that Monsanto will not be what saves us in the face of disaster.  It will be the canning that our neighbor did and the garden that Sue cultivated and the dairy that is down the road that will supply milk long after the industrial agricultural giants have failed by poisoning every crop and every cattle at once.

These military like gigantic corporations do not have a heart.  They may have won the vote, but they will never have heart.  Heart is that instinctual knowing that emits from below the navel, rises through us and lands in our minds as a good feeling thought that is capable of producing just about anything that it wants to produce.

Manifesting an awareness that we are capable of deliberately altering our thoughts in search for a better feeling thought, which in turn produces a better feeling life, is beginning to take the form of a movement.  Spiritualist and humanist and social scientist from a multitude of disciplines are converging on the idea that as humans our minds when infused with the raw instinct is a powerful apparatus that can mimic the very source of the universe.  In touch with our nature we begin to act like the divine and we worship the very act of creation.

Life in this lane is easy.  Life in this lane is like a warm breeze beneath a gently sky.  We are able to deliberately negotiate our way to the next better feeling that we can have by stopping and become aware of ourselves.  The very act of aware consciousness provides us with a new dimension that is capable of turning around a ship of state.

As we decide that we are going to learn to maneuver our way through life rather that be shoved and pushed and prodded, we take on a responsibility that no longer resembles obligation. Instead, our responsibilities emerge from a powerful desire to feel good.  When our mind have sufficiently become divided so that we are capable of witnessing ourselves operating on earth, we have found the portal, the glimpse to our happiness.

There is no magic here, no secret solution, no society of a privileged few that are keepers of this knowledge.  This knowledge lives in the soul of man as his and her instincts.  All we need to do is the allow ourselves to believe that instincts have as much right to see the light of day as do the egoic thoughts that we have been growing with since birth.

The ego has only eclipsed the instincts and when we have dared to go to look at the dark side of the moon, fear no longer rules our house.  We are free to become as free as we will let ourselves become.

return of the repressed

It is constantly being borne in upon me that we have made far too little use for our theory of the indubitable fact that the repressed remains unaltered -by the passage of time. This seems to offer us the possibility of an approach to some really profound truths. But I myself have made no further progress here.  Sigmund Freud (excerpt from the Anatomy of a Mental personality)

The really more profound truths truths that Freud is alluding to may be truths that belong to the realm of philosophy more that to the realm of psychology proper.  Also spiritual and creative factors may well not have been taken into consideration due to the scientific climate of the day that remains with us even in the beginning of the 21st century.

By the simple fact that we are a civilized society, we humans have to put a clamp on many of our animal-like instinctive behaviors. Otherwise we might be prone to act more like dogs in a dog park.  The animal instincts are sexual and aggressive in as much as we are programmed to safe guard both the survival of our organism and the survival of the human specie. Consequences of putting our instincts aside in order to be civilized is that we repress to a portion of our mind that we call the stored consciousness or the unconscious.  The material that  is repressed has a tendency to return to consciousness either in its original form or as a form of acting-out.  When our early egoic mind was being formed some wounding might have occurred.  In those cases when we regress we regress to a pre-verbal, narcissistic stage where we had no command of language…

Repressing something to the unconscious requires the use of a lot of psychic energy.   Psychic energy must be examined in terms of economy.  We have only a certain quantity of energy and the more of it that we use to keep something repressed the less energy we have to run our lives in the manner that is creative or spiritual.

When we speak of the return of the repressed we are talking about a function of the ego.  It is the ego that decides what material will be repressed and it is a function of the ego that allows repressed material to come back into consciousness.  Even if the repressed re enters as a dream, the ego will have to have cooperated with opening the pathways to let the material re-enter.

This short chapter on the return of the repressed is inserted here as a reminder that there is an extremely important function that the ego serves in our development and in our maintaining of status-quo in our adult lives.  The ego appears to be a word that has become highly dependent on its context.  In the hands of new age psychology it is almost an enemy of the people, in ego psychology and object relations it is the seat of executive function in the psychic apparatus and to drive theorist the ego is a mediating force between conscious and unconscious as well as between the internal world and the external reality that most of us know as what life appears to be.

The tripartite brain–the triune brain is the structure that most of psychology uses to talk about internal happenings within the mind of a subject.  The ego in this sense is loosely considered a cluster of mind/body functions having to do with perception, motility, language and the subjective organization of of who we consider ourselves to be.  The Ego and the Id, written in 1919 by Sigmund Freud remains the most reliable description of the function of this concept that has no manner of being located in time or space, yet it remains the most significant way of talking about our sense of our own internal world.  His work on the description of the psychic apparatus is know by many today to have been far in advance of the neuro-physics and the neurobiology of the 19th century.

When we consider the ego as a dynamic cluster of neuronal activity that assist we humans in the task of staying alive, it is no wonder that it has sparked so many varied ways of discussing it.  In a way it can be compared to the autonomic nervous system of the body.  Although we have no argument with gravity, the electro-magnetic field or the semi-autonomic nervous system, neither of these are visible — they are inferred by the consequences of their presence.  The ego is such a phantom.  It exist by virtue of how we see it exerting pressure on our lives–thoughts, feelings and actions.

On the other hand there exist a very different definition of ego that has a perhaps more colloquial definition.  In this use it is almost pejorative and we can here the judgement when someone uses the phrase–“he has a massive ego,” or “don’t get in the way of her ego, she is so full of herself.”  These ego-mainiac type of presentation remain in the more common usage.  It is like the example of the word “paranoid,” when we say in an offhanded way–he is  paranoid, we are not usually referring to a diagnostic term that speaks of a kind of schizophrenic psychosis.  It has a colloquial definition that is more a kin to, he worries about everything.

In my discussion of the exit from narcissism, I will refer frequently to the term “ego,” as that aspect of the mind that grew along with us and began to have an awareness of itself at about three years old.  Prior to this it was growing but the self-awareness was as limited as was language, for example.

Although, I was greatly impressed by Eckhart Tolle’s most recent publication, A New Earth. Tolle seems to be envisioning an earth where there is no influence from the ego. I find that concept unrealistic and perhaps even as an unwanted vision.  Although we can almost see a utopian kind of existence if we were to eliminate from our consciousness all the aspects that defend the ego, I am not sure that existing without an ego would be a better state for we humans who have been evolving in a particular direction for thousands of years, if not millions.  The very fact that language is an egoic function, ties us dramatically to our own egos.

I subscribe to a divided mind kind of way of looking subjectively at myself.  We have an awesome capacity not only to behave in certain ways that are evolved, but we have the capacity to watch ourselves behaving in those ways.  The divided mind allows us to watch the actions of the ego, view our defenses and even to comment on our behavior while we are behaving.

Early in our developing organism the persona of who we are began to develop along with the development of the skills that are fairly uniquely human.  In the earliest years of our egoic development we did not have the capacity to watch ourselves, at least in a way that we could recognize that we were doing so.  Even at that, I can see some rudimentary aspects of the divided mind beginning to happen.  Shame is perhaps the first of the conflicting emotions to invade our internal world.  When we become aware that we have displeased a parent or a parenting-Other, we experience a frowning, a mood shift, even tears and perhaps a running to our rooms for some safe place to be where momentarily we are not being seen.

In the earliest stage of egoic development we are not consciousness of the internalizing and the integrating of our experiences, but we indeed are setting down a foundation for who is to become “US.”  In the pre-verbal years, the pre-linguistic mind we are invaded by sensations that eventually give way to symbols and circuitry that becomes wired into who we are in relation to the world.

The developing ego does that for us. As we grow it grows with us and eventually we are fooled into believing that what is the ego is actually what is us.  In the process of developing itself it began over the years of evolution to set itself up as the executive function of the organism to the extent that we think we are the ego, or the ego is who we are.  As a four year old, I had a four year old hand with all that that meant about a four year old hand.  It had certain capacities that it did not have a four months old, but lacked many of the functions that it would have as a forty year old hand.  The same can be said for my ego.  I had a four year old ego at age four and a forty year old ego at age forty.

And to further the metaphor.  I want my hand to grow more and more useful to me.  I want it to grow skills that will serve me in life and I want the same from my ego. However because the ego has such a sense of authority we frequently end up working for the ego rather that the ego working for us.

In my consideration of exiting from the ego, I will be paying a great deal of attention to the manner in which the ego wants to have a “mind-of-its-own”.

narcissism: location or behavior?

Why is it important to know the distinction between the ego and the self?  From an academic perspective it really is a mute point. I mean there is so much literature on the borderline personality that began to come forth in full bloom just after Sigmund Freud’s death before WWII that to continue to write about this distinction is about as useful as practicing the alphabet as an exercise in graduate school.

And then there is all the literature and the practice that comes from eastern philosophy.  What we have been able to garner from meditation and the many manners of the “ZEN” experience.  Meditation, Yoga, transcendental practices as well as new age methods in the art of healing have seen a proliferation in the last half of the 20th century.

Finally, or perhaps I should say and originally there is the language and the literature of the mystics, in hebrew/christian and sufi and african traditions that have been passed down in oral traditions as well as having been recorded in writings.  With the computers, google, wiki and the other aspects of the explosion in informational data it is possible to key in a few choice words in the search engine and you can you tube or encyclopedia, or web-site or blog to almost any reference you might need.

So,  it is not more knowledge that we need.  Rather it is a way of accessing that knowledge in a way that allows us to understand and digest just what it is like to experience being in a world that has been colored by a multi-fold of experiences unique to us in some case and almost archetypical in other cases.  The post-modern concept in psychoanalysis might be referred to as wisdom.  The Forefathers of our profession, having passed down classical traditions would perhaps be impressed to see the variety of psychoanalytic schools that have spun off from the original drive theory that Freud and the early founders brought to us.

I have always had such tremendous respect for the writings of Freud and Jung and many more of the original men and women who devoted much creative energy to searching internally and witnessing externally the proceedings of the human mind.  My major professor and mentor Dr. Phyllis Meadow often made the point that each psychoanalysis is a new psychoanalysis and to that end her final book was published with the tittle:  A New Psychoanalysis.

Now, for Dr. Meadow, that had the specific meaning that each time we sit with a new patient we are entering a brand new dynamic that has never been entered before.  Each pair or dyad — analyst and analysand, are a new venture into the world of the subjective.  So for me the very act of a psychoanalysis is a creative endeavor.  Indeed it was proudly my first venture into the world of an artist.  Because as much as psychoanalysis has tried and inched it’s way toward becoming a pure science, the actual act of an analysis required that it be referred to as the art and science of psychoanalysis.  This is the same way that all of medicine os referred to.  There is no question that medicine is a science, yet it the seasoned hands of a clinical practitioner we feel the heart and art of the discipline.

My response to my own narcissism and to the narcissism of many, many patients through out the years has always been to continue to dig deeper for answers.  But in each case, I have always “known” that we were searching for a way to be connected with the essential self, that self that knows it is the center of an existence that is conscious of itself.  It has seemed to me that psychoanalysis and the scientific investigation was as close a way as we had to getting to our own core’s.  The difficulty with getting to our own core’s of existence is that when we get there there is no thing of particular excitement, no aspect of drama that follow us.  When we meet ourselves in the darkness of our own being, it is a cool and stagnant stillness that we enter.  And frequently the search ends with an egoic decision that it might be just as much fun to drink, or to gamble or to sex myself out with my life by grabbing as much gusto as I possible can.  After all, the center is really an experience of void and if that is where I am headed, my ego has much more exciting and eventful ideas to bring me away from the knowledge of the universal void.

There are times that I have searched for the something by wanting a bigger house, or a better lover, or an object like a car or a radio or a place to live, or even an education, a wife, or a lover.  These most often materialized or to use the language of the Laws of Attraction, I have manifested them.  At other times in my life i have searched for the more intangible things, like serenity, love, peace, authenticity or even grandiosity and success.  Most often I have walked away a winner because I have stayed connected to  life by remaining connected with my desires.  As long as there was some element of attunement with who I was and what I wanted the object usually manifested itself in very little time.  This is a libidinal power, of sorts.

On balance the Universe began to give me more and more of what I needed and wanted, and as I began to put away childish notions of selfishness or the young catholic views of a punishing god, life became a series of getting my desires met.  The problem with that formula is that the desires were only randomly connected and as a result, I became sort of addicted to wanting more and more and the sense of accomplishment or success rarely followed the obtaining of the desired object or person.  I was aware that my egoic needs were being met, but i was also vaguely aware that a process of transformation was needed at a more profound level of attention that my ego was willing of able to get to.  I was aware of having my need met without those needs ever satisfying the more central core of me.

This coincided with a time in my life when the ten commandments, rules and petty ordinances of other people’s authority were beginning to fade in value.  I experienced a type of epiphany in which I was able to come into my own power which led me to a more organic sense of what my needs really were, or another way of saying it is that it led me to a more central set of desires than the more narcissistic ones had been earlier.  I was not controlled by the established rules or the crusaders of eons ago or even of the good christian soldiers.  Popes and presidents ceased to mean anything to me.  Their power had nothing to do with my power and if was able to rid myself of dogma and doctrine, then perhaps I would have a chance of setting myself up as a kind of organic authority.  Crusaders and good christian soldiers can only bring a man to conflict.  The conflict that we become up against once we have exhausted the great ideas of other people is the conflict within.  The one between my deeper, truer, more empathic self and the self that had been known through the ego that had been my constant companion since early toilet training–and before.

In order for me to write comfortably about my primary interest, “the exit from narcissism,” my psychoanalytic/scientific training places a demand on me that I want to honor.  If I am going to use any kind of subjective detail to argue any point, it is imperative that i find some way of verifying the material to another.  You, readers, are to be that “Other.”

My witnessing, or recognizing my experience of my narcissistic ego came a long while before I had a name or a concept for it. Furthermore my witnessing this egoic narcissism began well before I had any idea that I could or needed to escape from the grips of my narcissistic egoic self.  The actual process of exiting from the narcissistic ego and gliding smoothly into a state of well-being (grace, if you will) is a new process and one that seems to not have been covered in years of psychoanalytic training and research.  I do not say this in any disparaging manner.  I shall be eternally grateful to my analysts and consultants and supervisors who put up with the multitude of question.  i am sure that I was a doubting Thomas from the beginning and what was frequently stated as a fact, needed in my estimation to be more experientially proven.

To their credit they stuck with me and treated my questioning and reserve with tremendous reverence.

I have always wished to contribute to the body of knowledge know as “Psychoanalysis.”  And with my recent studies and research into what i call the exit from narcissism, I may have stumbled against a concept that might with further exploration be a useful aspect of a psychoanalysis.

To that end, I am formulating what I call the exit from narcissism.  Most of the previous experiences with narcissism were treated as if the condition were a disease and to the extent that regression and the return of the repressed is a condition to be dealt with cautiously, I guess that ‘die-ease’ is as convenient a word for the condition.  However, to the extent that narcissism remains as a location in the psychic apparatus, I hardly think that considering it a dis-ease is the best formulation.  Instead, I want to emphasize that in drive theory, narcissism is a developmental phase of infant growth.  It may well be seen as the condition in which the ego grows to become the persona that we think we are.

more on consciousness & creativity

Waking up in an environment that is as stunningly beautiful as this one is, I can not help but be drawn to topics that interest me at the core.  In the context of abject silence, blanketed by wildflowers, tall oaks and wind breezing through tall pines, all captured in an aroma of earth and sea, I love to contemplate aesthetics and specifically consciousness.

What and who am I?  I mean what about who I am gives me the capacity to appreciate and call something beautiful or to call something love.  The context is a plot of land minutes away from the sea and from ice ponds on the piece of land that we New Englanders call The Vineyard.  There must be several acres of pristinely cultivated land that yields not only the brightest of red tomatoes, but also is dotted and spotted with more colors than the eye can count.  All this is set in silence.  I can not hear any human made sound.  No lawn mowers, no leaf blowers, no exhaust, no fumes, no a trace of human activity that is anything but throughly respectful to sustaining the environment.  Even the water is heated by the sun.  Birds flutter and tweet and the breeze blows through a sun drenched screened-in porch.

Can you tell that I am happy?  Can you tell that I am in love?

I am keenly aware that the setting and the people here are all contributing to an exuberance that is not always possible while existing in the hum-drum aspects of my ordinary life.  I do not have a big-life, and ordinarily  I am scarcely aware of that fact; but today, here and by juxtaposition, I am experiencing the fact that both quantity and quality effect my days and my moods of consciousness.

I am attempting to experience a visceral understanding of being as opposed to knowing.  I find that when I sit with the attempt to meditate that I do not want to pull myself away from the beauty and the sensations of delight that are running through me.  I do not want to trade in the experience of exhilaration for the experience of stillness.  As I pondered this, I began to wonder if I was perhaps understanding a greater resistance.  Meditating is difficult for me, but also for many people.  And when people talk about the difficulties with meditating they usually talk about a condition where they are unable to simply stay focused on the moment and their mind drifts to thoughts or visions or concepts and ideas, more exciting than stillness or breath.

The desire to run away from the stillness might be the same in this moment as it is in any other moment.  I do not want to leave my dialogue.  I do not want to leave my persona and the experiences it is creating in the moment in order to experience a moment of  “simply” pure consciousness.

Pure consciousness  is a form of being that is removed from the egoic perceptions, including the perceptions that are specifically created as a direct result of our linguistic competence.  If my egoic self is the result of evolution and if by extension my persona–who I tell myself I am, is a product of that evolution, then it would seem that meditating is actually a return to a more primitive aspect of the human condition.  Essentially meditating looked at this way is a regression to not only an earlier aspect of my life, but, indeed a return to a less evolved human condition that existed prior to humans linguistic.

To void oneself of thought, one has to be able to turn off the portion of the mind that creates thought.  If we think of this in terms of location we are saying that in order to meditate one has to be able to get away from who one has decided that one is to a place in the mind where the ego is not functioning.  This place is perhaps more akin to experiencing nothingness than it is to a location.  But for sake of language, let’s say for a moment that the ego evolved or grew out of the brain as a cluster of activities that allowed one to categorize and synthesize events and experiences.  As this ego grew both from the macro point of view and from the micro point of view, it became associated with learning about the world that it was born into.

I am firmly convinced that my dog is capable of the same experience of lying in a spot of sun at home in my city apartment as well as it capable of enjoying a spot of sun in this idyllic Vineyard environment.  To be honest, that is not the experience that I have.  There are conscious moments during which I seek out an aesthetic environment in order to be able to experience more joy and more exuberance that I can find in my “ordinary” life.

In other words, in order to facilitate my experience of joy, I create conditions in which joy is more able to be allowed in to consciousness.  So here, this morning, sitting in a porch with the sea breeze and the colors of the world dancing in my senses, it is much easier for me to relax into a kind of state that is absolutely wonderful.  From where did this joy come.  It seems unlikely that it actually comes from the setting as much as it comes from my allowing the setting to be absorbed in a particular fashion that then registers as exhilaration.  Aspect of consciousness that are not being impinged upon by ordinary responsibilities, are open to the wider sensation of being because my more primitive senses are more acute than they might be in a less idyllic setting.

So, have I suspended higher, more elaborate forms of consciousness as I allow myself to relax into a cradle of pleasant sensations.  At least, I think that I have.  But it may be less that I have escaped from the egoic persona as much as it a different concentration that is providing this moment of joy.

I seem to have closed down avenues that  in another setting would bring me closer to synthetic thinking and instead I am simply contemplating the experience of the pure sensations and because they are each so pleasant, I do not have a requirement to “do” something with them.  Instead I am simply able to feel the experience which is a more elementary human condition than is complex thinking.

At the same time, the aesthetics of the location are so stunning that they open up a new rivulet of consciousness that is unchartered and therefore more amenable to creativity.  My consciousness is both elevated and suppressed at the same moment.  I am aware of the simplicity of being and also am gratified by the experience that this simplicity offers in terms of being able to have progressive or new combinations of experience leading to my openness to creativity as opposed to my being open to the routine to my ordinariness.

My being able to suspend my customary dialogue about who I am, about what persona has evolved with me since my early years of existence, allows me to use the same circuitry that I use to navigate my environment in a new and creative manner making it seem to me that I am existing outside my persona.  In actuality all that I am doing is being or existing outside of my habit or routine.  And this fact is so delightful to my consciousness that i think I am in a different state.

It may be that I am not in a different state at all, rather I may be using an unfamiliar combinations of circuitry.  The same set of circuitry that creates my ego, but rearranged in an unfamiliar pattern–the new unfamiliar pattern my be what I call my creativity.

Nonetheless, the experience of creativity is a sound mechanism for me to be able to use to exit my narcissistic ego.  As I move from one state to the other–location, or circuitry–I find within my frame of reference a newly born capacity to rearrange either negative thinking or bad-habit thinking, or simply ordinary routine thinking into a sort of synthesized newer version of the old egoic me.  Because this feels so good, I am able to label it well-being and with Practice I am able to remember this sensation of well-being and with low-key effort I can call on this remembered-wellness most any time that I want to.

In a future essay i will take up some of the reasons why this remembered wellness is only available most of the time and try to shed some insight on how we can increase the number of times and situations that this remembered state is available.