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

Home Sweet Home

I have done very little writing this summer.  I guess I am OK with that, but I do find myself searching for something and I think the search is for something as comforting as writing was earlier in the year.  It is so easy to blame summer.  There is sheer joy in just being in the world where the windows are open to a constant breeze and the birds sings and the water becomes holy and warm and healing.  I did spend a great deal of this summer healing and thinking about healing.

Before the summer ends I wanted to put some of these thoughts together in a cohesive essay because I think they might be helpful to other people who suffer from the chronic critical voice that lingers like a ticker-tape in the back of the mind, forever calling out some atrocity about to happen or warning us about some grievous fault that we have committed.

We have a mind that we can to some extent control.  That is the mind we think with.  “I think I want to go to the marketplace and purchase some vegetables for tonight’s dinner.”  That statement is a thought that will most likely propel me into an action at some point so that I am able to accomplish the object of my desire:  buy vegetables.  The sound from that voice in my head was as clear as if I had spoken it out-loud.

But, what about the voice that speaks in a dimmer tone, the one that says:  “you can’t do that, you are not smart enough, you have no culture and if you go out everyone you want to impress will know what a supreme jerk you are….”  That voice is also a communication from the mind but it seems to have a more autonomic sense about it.  It is not a thought that i decided that I wanted to have, rather it is a thought that stays suspended in a sub-conscious state and though we have no desire to listen to it, it may well propel us to action or passivity like the first example about the vegetables.

We are frequently guided by a force that seems to come from nowhere.  We put our heads on the pillow and instead of a list of gratitudes, what comes out is a list of outlandish criticisms that seek to prevent us from going after what we want.

This summer I wanted to stay home at the Lake.  The voice was very loud on many occasions telling me I was lazy, but I was able to overcome the voice by continuously reminding myself that following my desire is a more noble effort than sulking.  It occurred to me many time this summer that if I was going to have a pleasant, free and easy summer that I was going to have to invite in the peace that comes from deliberate intention.

It remains amazing to me that the negative thoughts springing from some repetition in the ego are so easy to access, while the peaceful, calm, deliberate serenity that I get from writing, or reading or a multitude of other activities that I enjoy; these must be invited in.  I like to use a “zen” like singing bowl, tap its side and listen to the vibrations that last into a long fading silence.  This reminds me that I need to listen deliberately and that I must be conscious about inviting in gratitude….

Summer was great!

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 manifesting: unc. vs. consciousness

How we approach anything is how we do everything.

Our most pressing need in the twenty-first century is to exit from narcissism.  I would say that the exit from narcissism is to this century what the discovery of neurosis and psychosis was to the previous turn of the century.  Mental health and the social health of a people are intimately tied & the macro/micro argument that we remember from philosophy 101 is as pertinent in relation to the exit from narcissism as it is about any other universal comparison that we can make.

In light of this statement, that the exit from narcissism is our most glaring need, I will be looking more closely at secular spirituality, humanism and the laws of attraction as primary resources to this endeavor.  First, I want to comment on the nature of consciousness just briefly to re-acquaint us all with my ideas of consciousness before proceeding.

Consciousness is loosely thought of as our subjective experience of ourselves experiencing life.  In short it is a philosophical condition of awareness.  I am conscious that I have just experienced a burning sensation in my mouth when I tasted the too-hot soup.  My consciousness is almost a rendition in mental form of an experience in the physical form.  It is clearly my mouth, my body that was burned by the hot soup; but, it is my mind, my consciousness that allowed for that sensation to register as a feeling/thought.  The sensation occurs, but consciousness alerts up to the event in a mental way.

Classically, we pretty much think of consciousness as the limits of the self.  The self has a consciousness of itself.  I have an awareness that I exist and that awareness that I exist is separate from the actual fact of existence.  My physical body lives as an accumulation of cells held together by some biological life force and my mind gives me the capacity to subjectively experience my body as it lives through the space time continuum.

The mind is the manifestation of the brain and as a manifestation it exist at the will of the brain, or as long as the brain is alive in form…Once the form of the body is no longer alive, the manifestations of that brain cease to exist in the time-space continuum as we know them.  However, since it is possible for me to converse intelligently about the forms in the world that I have experienced, I am fairly confident that even when I die the forms and the colors and the shapes and the materials of life will continue to exist for other live brains & minds to experience.

In short, I am using the idea that the mind of man, his consciousness, has evolved over time.  As the mind evolves, more and more functions of awareness become possible. In other words the mind as it evolves seems to bring about greater and greater awarenesses of what this universe is made up of.  Consciousness seems to expand in such a way as to give us more clues as to the nature of the experience of life–an ever expanding mind in an ever expanding universe.

There is life-forms and there are consciousnesses of that form–these are separate one from the other.  As we become more aware and more awake to the intricacies of the life forms, we become more curious on higher and higher levels of consciousness, and knowledge of the subjective become increasingly a legitimate aspect of scientific study.

Before the time of Freud, dreams and the unconscious were not thought to be legitimate aspects of scientific study.  Freud had a great deal of trouble with his colleagues in the medical community of his day due in large part to the fact that science had not evolved far enough for his thoughts to be considered any more that a metaphor for how the mind/brain body co-exists and functions as a “one-thing-thing.”

Knowledge of form is different from knowledge of consciousness.  Crudely, the more we know the more we want to know.  Or, the higher we climb the higher we want to climb…perhaps there is some perverse correlation here in the building of ever taller skyscrapers. But that would be the topic of another essay.  To stay on topic, I need to reel us back to the beginning.

As I have stated in earlier essays, I have become interested in what I would call the exit from narcissism.  In order to have a respectable understanding of narcissism we need to be on the same page with certain other words from psychology, psychoanalysis and philosophy.

One of these important words is, “Ego.”  Another word that needs some clarification is “narcissism” and a third word of interest to this topic is “regression.”

For Freud, the ego was the psychic apparatus that allowed the brain to perceive the world, while at the same time have a unique inward perspective.  In addition the ego sat partially submerged in the unconscious.  The ego is not the id but it sits with part of itself below the level of consciousness.  This ‘below the level of consciousness’ he termed the unconscious.  This arena contained not only autonomic functions, but also memories too hard to handle were repressed to this arena where the conscious mind no longer had access to the thought forms that are stored there.

Curiously, a very similar concept exist in traditional Buddhism.  The idea of seed-consciousness is taken up by the prolific writer and Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. In his discussion on eastern psychology, from his worked titled, Understanding Our Mind (2006)  he talks of seed-consciousness as aspects of the world that exist in side our conscious mind but to which we have no access unless they are watered.  The seeds of any thought need to be watered in order to “manifest” into consciousness.  One quote from this brilliant monastic talks about the very quality of seed that lies in deep consciousness as the source of our ability and desire to manifest a freedom from suffering.

I can’t think of a more suffering condition that that of mental narcissism.  Narcissism is a condition in which the mind reverts or regresses to an earlier condition in the life of that mind.  In modern psychoanalytic literature it is always referred to as a pre-verbal condition.  By that we mean the depth of the condition is located in the recesses of the mind, or in the recesses of that mind’s history.  Not all of our history is readily accessible, although one might argue that it is all stored and might be assessable under a favorable condition.

The Unconscious is a difficult concept to deal with as are many other concepts in science in which the actual event is hidden from view and can only be understood to exist by virtue of inductive reasoning.  Examples like evolution, the electro-magnetic field and even gravity are understood because we see and feel the effects of the condition, but we never can actually see gravity–only conditions that make us think it most probably is a force operating in reality.

The unconscious is particularly important to understanding the narcissistic conditions. The idea of narcissism can only happen in the presence of pre-verbal feelings and pre-verbal feelings are by their definition feelings that we experienced before we had grown an ego sufficient in language proficiency.  It is a feeling that we experience before we were old enough to orally process the experience.  Although the experience did not have a word at the time to describe the experience, nonetheless the experience was registered by the mind and stored without words to categorize or describe the event.

Under a “favorable” condition; that is, when an event in real time happens that jars a pre-verbal memory, that memory is “remembered” without words.  When that happens we experience feelings that seem to have no antecedent.  The feeling appears to attack us from the inside and we are not quite able to point to what or where it is coming from.

The most common regression is a regression to pre-verbal or narcissistic rage.  That is we are aware of a mood-like feeling that engulfs us and takes over our spirit, or our manner of looking at life.  The mood-like condition may be experienced as gloom, or a lethargy, or a resistance to participate in life.  Instead of the event before us causing anger, because it travels backwards in time, it causes us to recline into a mood that we seem to have very little control of changing.  Actually, at the beginning, the mood may not even be recognized as a mood–the mind simply regresses to a condition that become who we are in the moment.

We have manifested from the unconscious a thought/feeling that existed in our mind many, many years before the current time or the current event.

The importance of this issue to psychoanalysis is profound.  Our theories of development and our theories of the technique of treatment and even our theories of research are central to our understanding of the people who come into our clinical consultation rooms.  Psychoanalysis exists on the premise that not all that we are is available to consciousness.  The unconscious is central to our understanding of regression, transference and to our ability to work with the cognitive behavioral problems that present themselves as conflicts in life or conflicts with life.  In psychoanalysis we understand all conflict to be within.  That conflict occurs among the factions of the mind…the ego battles with the unconscious causing us to experience internal discomfort in the form of anxiety, depression or psycho-somatic ailments or illnesses.

In conclusion, the conscious mind is a manifestation of the brain/body matrix.  Our consciousness is really the first order of manifestation that is considered under the Laws of Attraction.  Who we are, the self that we carry around and the self that represents itself to both us and the rest of the world is one aspect of consciousness.  But to consider that that aspect of consciousness is the only aspect of self makes not very much biological sense, not very much philosophical sense and not very much neurological sense.

As we evolved from the beginnings of the alligator brain through ever more complex conditions of human existence, we become more familiar with the multitude of manifestations that our brain can invent.  Our consciousness works in oneness with the universe and as such the more we understand about the universe the more we understand about the universe within.  As the universe expands so does our capacity for both understanding and destroying.  We are more able to understand human differences than ever in the history of consciousness and at the same time we are more on the brink of being able to extinguish all human life from this planet.  It is a piece of human synchronicity that our understanding exists in parallel form to our ability for destruction and self-destruction.

The unconscious in many ways is more a manifestation of the body than it is actually a manifestation of the brain.  Of course, it is both, but in many ways its very existence is more closely tied with bodily functions than with psychic illuminations.  Like breathing and the circulation of blood and our endocrine system, the system of the unconscious operates at a level below the level of consciousness and it is only through behaviors such as acting-out that we can see it is exerting a pressure on our lives, thought the exact nature from which the pressure is being exerted, like gravity is difficult to discern.

The exit from narcissism that so many of us yearn for can only be actuated by a cooperation between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the mind.  The thought alone can not creates a situation from which narcissism can be exited.  it is not enough to want to be free from these early regressive states, we must KNOW how to do this work of exiting.

The work of exiting from narcissism is a joint venture between what we know we know and what we must in ourselves deliberately set out to know.

psycho-semiautomatic responses to the unc.

My spell check is bull-shit with me.  It insists that I correct the spelling of the tittle of the essay.  But I intend to keep it even if my agent were to object because it is more correct that its alternative.  What I enjoy so much about the word is that it was coined by a delightful patient who refuses to believe in the unconscious mind.  This patient is convinced that if he is not conscious of a feeling or a thought it cannot be his.  And who is the blame him, the very structure of the mind points to childish dependencies, irrational outrages, tremendous pangs of sadness as well as deep-seated lacks in self-esteem as the occupants of this not so sweet unconscious location in our minds.

To further the argument, these dilettantes of subconscious  behavior come charging forth like wild animals that have finally managed to escape from the zoo.  Who, if they had a choice would embrace the idea that dirty little sex secrets and semi-violent fantasies about throwing the neighbor under the bus live inside all of us just waiting for the opportunity to break free from repression and embarrass the hell out of us in some social setting.  No — we do not want to know the content of our unconscious mind, the content is ugly and primitive and full of savage rage.

So, psycho-semiautomatic, is perfect.  It is not entirely automatic like the autonomic nervous system, but it also has a mind of its own and can pull the trigger on rage without my full and conscious permission.

Pulling the trigger on rage:

Philosophy, psychoanalysis and medicine are closer to being on the same page in the last few recent decades than ever before in the history of consciousness.  This is a good thing.  As long as we need to consider the most unpleasant aspects of life as not permitted in consciousness, we are going to continue to set up the matrix of conflict as the predominant culture of thought. Conflict within is where resolution can be applied.  As long as we persist in externalizing half the conflict to another noun — another person, place or thing, we are forfeiting our ability to resolve the aggression in a masterful way internally.

The “It” of our unconscious is the foundation on which later evolutions of our triune brain was built.  The ego and the super-ego were later developments and although they know somewhat of the content of the id, their job was primarily to help the organism to survive.  Humans, of which you and I are a piece of this classification, survived to a great extent because of the linguistic, communicative capacities developed in the higher brain.  Nonetheless, the higher form that we have taken is still built on the foundation that sex and aggression were the earliest prototypes for the later more complex mind.  The alligator brain holds the “semi-automatic”  responses that we see. For example, in the driver who suddenly transforms his behavior from a mild-mannered  commuter into what looks more like a killing machine–Dr. Strangelove riding the autonomic bomb into Moscow is a cinematic picture of road rage.

Narcissistic rage erupts from within the deepest structures of the mind.  The trigger to behave in a semi automatic way is pulled long before the ego has a chance to decide on its efficacy.  Once the trigger is pulled it takes a nearly super human strength to call it back.  This is somewhat the concept of it being impossible to un-ring a bell.  A feeling that is triggered in the unconscious has tremendous strength of passion attached to it and if you think of it as a rocket launched from deep underground you can envision that by the time  we see the rocket above ground it is too late to stop it forward motion.

Narcissistic rage is perhaps the single most identifiable culprit of socially and morally misfit behaviors.  That is because the location of narcissistic rage is below consciousness and we (the egoic we) is not privy to the mechanisms that trigger and fire the rage.  Who we are, the persona, the egoic part of us that lives entirely above ground, was not involved in pulling the trigger on rage.  So, by the time we see the results of the pulled trigger, the shot has been fired and all we can do is witness the aggression somewhat as mortified by it as any spectator would be.

The semi-automatic response is about as thoughtful as that of an alligator that sees a small animal out of the corner of its eye. There is no thought process involved.  The alligator does not sit in contemplation.  HUMMMM, is that little furry animal some one I know?  Should I let it cross my path, after all it means me no harm.  NO, the alligator brain snaps into action entirely on the passions and the neuronal activities that coordinated the eye to mouth sequence.

Again, we have to remember that as a triune brain, some aspects of the self can operate in total isolation from another aspect of the brain.  All that the “IT” wants is for the essence of the pleasure principle to be met.  Essentially, I want what I want when I want it.

Along with the narcissistic rage the “IT” houses other aspects of our mental life.  It is almost a misnomer to call this automatic reaction– rage.  It is rage by definition of how we perceive the results of rage, but in its infancy the rage response began innocently enough as a means of survival.  And in our capitalistic environment we can hardly fault an organism for being too big to fail.

Let’s review for a moment where we are.  The brain has three distinctive arenas of development.  They do not correspond to the psychic structure which is also said to have three distinctive areas.  However, there is a great deal in common between the “IT” that Freud wrote about and the biological base of the brain which has loosely been referred to at the alligator brain.

The ego has been seen as the seat of executive function.  That is to say, the egoic part of us is the part of the mind responsible for coordinating our bodies with the environment around us.  It has, as it major distinguished characteristic, language to set it apart from any other living organism and therefore is also concerned about survival.  But here the survival begins to take on a more deliberate mission.  With the advent of language and our descent from the trees, the snap response of the alligator brain has only limited value.

The ego can distinguish friend from foe and as such uses itself to better itself in time.  The ego not only uses the idea of time, but in many ways can be seen as having invented it.

We are approaching the conflict:  both the ego and the id have our survival at the heart of their mission.  However, the id uses guns and rape and pillaging while the ego uses diplomacy and espionage and covert operations to accomplish its goals.  A conflict arises within the organism much like the conflict that might emerge between say, the Secretary of State and the C. I. A.

Although both arm of the government the methods employed to reach the goals of the state will be entirely different.

Within these differences lies a conflict within.  The resolution of which must take place inside the organism or else a method of survival might be employed that goes against the wishes of the self.  Once a fight has ensued between Washington and North Korea and once a narcissistic missal has been fired it will be next to impossible to return to the diplomacy that the ego had in mind to use.

The use of guns and  other  semi-automatic weapons in the executing of our personalities and our selves is in direct conflict with our need for diplomacy and peaceful co-existance.  The ego and the id are in conflict and as an organism we are entirely tied to the politics of this conflict.

The conflict is so great within, that frequently the government is rendered dysfunctional because internal conflict is so great that a central decision is not possible.  Once this stoppage has occurred everything in the organism becomes backed up behind this lack of resolution and empires have fallen due to the lack of internal resolution.  Frequently nothing less than revolution is necessary to put an end to the ruinous ambivalence.

When a body becomes so mired down in its own conflict, illness and dysfunction become the central actors on the stage and rather than being concerned with the survival of the organism, we now have an organism that is destroying itself in its attempt to win supremacy.

Psychosomatic symptoms are the victims of an internal war.  The narcissistic rage that was designed to protect the organism is forced to turn against the self in order to cooperate with the ego which has decided on another mission.  As long as the rage is pointed at the self the symptom is exacerbated.

It has taken forever, it seems, to bring this very elementary concept home to medicine where it belongs.  Much like the flatness of the world, or the center of the universe being the earth, or man as independent from the rest of the natural world, psychosomatic symptoms are as central to disease as are virus and bacteria.

But like the electromagnetic field, we can not see the cause of a psychosomatic condition and man has been so trained to believe only his five senses that he has difficulty dealing with inductive science.  If I am unaware of my unconscious, it must not exist.

In another essay, we will take up the specific development of a symptom.

the majuscule & the miniscule

the arrival of now in the moment is a curious experience characterized both by thinking and by allowing the experience to unfold without a thought.  it is a paradox and a quandary all at once.  there is no way to escape the moment.   our very fact of aliveness proves our being in the moment.  however, having said that, it is a very different experience to pass through the moment with no consciousness of it than it is to experience the feeling of being in the moment with a consciousness of it.  the difference is slight in terms of space, but huge in terms of phenomenological experience of it.

i found myself explaining it to a patient recently in this way:  picture your self at the back door of your home.  the door is open and you are standing in your kitchen.  there is a threshold  which is about six inches in width.  as you step outside and cross over the threshold you have traveled the distance of less than one step; yet, the experience of being outside is extraordinarily different from where you were a moment ago standing in your kitchen.  the distance in space and time is infinitely vast and microcosmically small all at the same moment.

the experience of feeling connected to the the moment as opposed to being in the moment without feeling connected to it has that same paradox that surrounds it.  i am in side my house in my kitchen and only six inches away from being outside in the vastness of the cosmos without having the shell of the house around me.  not having the shell of the house around you give you a vastly different experience of the cosmos.  there is a parallel here to the mind field in which the ego is born.  the egoic house sits in a vast mental field much larger that the ego itself.  for sake of differentiating the two I use the term “ego” for one and the term “self” for the wider mental field of consciousness.

the alphabet poses a similar question.  when we write the word in the majuscule “BE HERE NOW” it is both the same and different at the same time as “be here now.”  so, the concept that i am addressing is a simple one, and a difficult one at the same time.  we can not help but pass through the moment, but unless we train our mind to recognize the moment as the “now,” there is a pretty good chance that we will miss the experience of the now.  the value of experiencing the moment  lies in the notion that by experiencing the now we are able to access a stillness, a lack of urgency to life; and if we are able to get that concept we are able to make decisions about our wants and needs based on knowing the experience of well-being. instead of aiming for well-being and while  experiencing the feeling of lack.

the feeling of lack is not present in the experience of the current moment and because of that fact we are able to base our values and conditions on a known/experienced feeling of well-being.  this is the essential element of any law of attraction.

by giving-in, subjecting ourselves, freeing ourselves or surrendering  to “is-ness” we feel the fullness of our vitality & we are able to feel an unbiased sense of aliveness and oneness with the universe.  concepts of judgement, and concepts of self criticism seem to disappear from our consciousness.

one last point about the experiencing of the moment:  there seems to exist the possibility that for some people the defenses of the ego are such that experiencing the moment becomes impossible.  the on-going “background thinking-voice” that we hear a moment before we sleep may in some people be so “loud” that it prohibits the attention being drawn to the moment. for some people it might take an external attention to distract the mind from paying on-going attention to the on-going voice.  an example that I can draw from my experience is the sound of cello especially being played in low registers.  the sound is so soothing for me that i feel compelled and drawn to the sound and while there listening, i find that I have had not consciousness of the background voice…i mention this because in order to fully enjoy the experience of entering the moment we have to find a way to distract ourselves from the egoic voice or else the voice will surely keep its grip on the mind and we will not get to the stillness and the calm that provides us with the exit sign from the ego……