This Is What I Mean By “Deliberate”

This is what I mean when I say deliberate.  I had to mindfully and deliberately place myself in front of my desk with my desk organized and my computer staring full face at me.  Once sitting there i felt closer to what i needed and wanted to do next.  But until I self motivated myself to go sit in the deliberate position at my desk, I had no desire to write.  

For me having a position, a place in the world, (a corner in my bed room at this moment), is important to the creative process.  I can get lost in the details of my life.  I can remember a hundred chores instead of putting my self in the place where I need to be to write.  
This is the first step of the deliberate intention that I must activate in order for the well being and the down streaming to occur to me.  Yes, I said that right.  I have to motivate myself before the well being can occur to me.  One action is mine to take and one action simply happens at the beckoning of the universe.  I motivate myself to conduct my self to the very edge of my life, the very point from which my sensation of life emits.   
This is the place from where I live my most creative moments in life.  From this position I can pretty much dissociate myself from the activities of my egoic life and pay full attention to the broader consciousness, the aspects of instincts that have been suppressed in order to learn to walk and talk and write and in general get along to some degree with the other humans that inhabit this location in time and space.
There are a series of words and phrases that seem to go along with following the dictates of the heart.  The dictates of the mind we have understood to a greater of lesser degree depending on how we have related to authority.  If we have been goodie-two-shoes about life we have obeyed all the commandments  of law and morality, some fostered on us by parents, some by churches and institutions and others again by constitutional and corporate structures.  The compliant individual has a certain task of unlearning that is more brutal to change than those who have had a more liberal and perhaps rebellions out-look to growing up.  The ego and the super ego are aspects of our mental functioning that have been crucial, indeed necessary to our human growth.  We have suppressed in order to learn, and we learn in order to fit in.  We fit in because our feeling of belonging is necessary as an infant and as a child, but as we put away our childish notions we get to see and understand that certain aspects of our grown up behavior belong to a portion of our mind that was necessary to grow up, but may no longer be necessary to our adult survival in the world.  In fact some of the routines and patterns that we have learned in our youth and childhood may be lethal to our creativity and our well being as adults.
So we need to make a distinction between the dictates of mind and the dictates of the heart.  But in doing so, we immediately leave the realm of science and many of us are reluctant to leave the discipline that has brought us so many understandings about on internal and external universe. The words that we have to use to understand the dictates of the heart are words like, love, peace, serenity, ease, vulnerability and faith.  They are words like, courage, intuition, compassion and empathy. These have no categorical definitions that allow us to study them as physical concepts.  They appear at first glance, first glimpse, to be so allusive that no two people would experience them in exactly the same way.  I mean we do not understand serenity in the way that we understand a table.  There are no physical properties that we can attribute to serenity.
But, in another way that does not entirely depend on these physical properties, we tend to all have the similar feeling about the phrase, “Look at those two, they are so in love,” or, “look at the autumn mountain scenery, it’s beautiful.”
In the above sentence we have a knowing and shared experience that as human to human we think we know what that means.  “I felt so warmly toward him”, is a phrase that we sort of get.  Yet, to examine it in a scientific way just would not fly….there are no mathematical proofs to point to.  Matters of the heart have always been non-categorical and do not show themselves to us in ways that we can calculate their meaning.  But that does not mean that they therefore to not have meaning.  It is just that we have to discover a philosophy and a protocol that will allow us to examine these matters of the heart in a fashion that at least points to shared understandings.  Instinct has long been used in psychoanalysis and other therapies, but it is not a part of the literature.  Instead it is a part of the body of knowledge that makes us the architecture of scientific analysis; but to speak and to study the intuitions has been a matter left to new age psychology and many of us thinking folks, have not taken kindly to exploring instincts in the presence of a supervisor.  We behave as analysts slightly differently that we talk about our art and science.
Finding our way around our adult lives is a very different endeavor than finding ourselves unraveling the aspects of youth.  Children are struggling with a different learning experience than adults struggle with.  As adults if we remain connected to learning as a way to please others, we hardly will find gratification.  As adults we have to discover our way around conducting ourselves in ways that are profoundly pleasing rather than profoundly important.  As children it is important that we learn the rules of the game, as adults we have to be able to make choices that have nothing to do with how anyone one else understands their lives or these rules.  We have to be able to pilot ourselves forward in a manner that does not ignore others, but in a manner that is aimed deliberately at what causes pleasure.  
It is this aspect of the drives forces that has us struggling with the matters of the heart (instincts).  As we become closer to our own instinctual drives we can see what it is in this world that gives us pleasure.  The importance of this is profound.  Until we are able to get it, that we want something because it will please us, we are destined to be getting only those things that fit in with the world view that we had as a child.  Not entirely a bad thing, but not the deliberate good feeling that we get from knowing that we are on a track that follows our very own specific desires and heartfelt instincts.
Desire and deliberate intent are bedfellows.  The force of our drives is dependent on the aim and the object that we aim for. Pleasure or gratification of the life drive is what causes quality in our lives.  We are all able to live a hum-drum existence, for the most part we are all able to follow the rules close enough so that we can live unseen.  But that has a tremendous drawback for those among us who are searching for a greater capacity to enjoy life.  The search for joy in truth comes from the exploration of instincts not the examination of knowledge.  Again knowledge is not a bad thing and I am not advocating moving away from what we know with out minds, I am simply advocating for equal attention to be paid to the matters of the heart.  I think that it is in making connections with people through the understanding of instincts that we begin to understand the curative aspects of relationships.  There is nothing quite so pleasing than to be sad, or lonely, or depressed and to have someone else understand that state from their perspective.  The connections made with empathy are deep connections that touch cortical-limbic biology in us.  I think this is why psychoanalysis works.  It works because analysts in training are encouraged to explore everything from a non-judgemental perspective.  All is fair game.  The mantra to say everything is more than a simple byline to our product, saying everything is the core dynamic operating when two people find that the knowledge they share comes from each of them and is understood equally.  There is no greater than and less than aspect to analysis.  The working down the feelings until they become shared knowledge is what give the impetus to the patient or client to move toward self-motivating.  
Moving ourselves and our patients toward self-motivating is the most important connective aspect of psychoanalysis.  It is where we begin to glimpse the central issues that plague mankind.
Freud and Jung were very close to this knowledge.  However, the bent toward scientific inquiry was so strong in the medical schools of the late 19th century that it was a sacrilege to even study dreams, let alone consider something as vague as a heartfelt instinct.  That was to be left to the Shaman. Moving forward one hundred years the neuro science of today has begun to define in biological terms that the connections between various aspects of the triune brain are real connections and that unscientific terms like unconscious, dream, and unknown thought have a chair at the scientific board.  

dr. albert dussault

The Issue of the Conflict Within

The Issue:
The sound of my own voice resonates inside my consciousness in a way that helps me to determine that I am alive.  It is not as if i really need proof of this fact, but the condition of my humanity and the experience of where and how I live my life within the context of the larger or the greater universe have always given me a a sense that though I know that I am here, I can not help but to wonder if there is also a there.
As I move internally towards the voices that i hear inside my head, and they do differentiate from the sounds that i hear outside of me–the cars, the alarms, the noisy hum of the refrigerator, even the slight annoying hum of a light bulb all remind me that there is a world that exist outside of the inside of my consciousness.
But, it is the internal voices that really give me the direction that i need to search for the other place that is the not me.  The existence of a spiritual life above and beyond my soul or myself is only slightly visible from the perspective of myself.  It is there enough so that generations of ancestors have searched among the primordial oozes looking for proof that an existence beyond my human existence lives someplace and that I probably exist within that larger context that is beyond my own consciousness.
As I wander though the internal world that I call my life, I am aware of a deep connection to things that make up my world.  I am aware of the blue sky and the milky while sky and the turbulent dark grey sky of a stormy day.  I am aware that my consciousness only stretches out so far before i can not longer see the horizon.  I am aware that life has a deeper and a more substantial meaning, but it escapes me when I try to touch this more meaningful meaning to life.
I grow to understand that my egoic self is a small corner of the wider consciousness that it lives within; but I also become aware that even my wider consciousness exist in an even wider consciousness; and that there may be universes within the ever expanding universe that I have come to know through the art of science.  Here I am willing to acknowledge that there is a power greater than me and suddenly I begin to wonder if there is power greater than the power that is greater than me.  How many magnifications of consciousness are out there beyond my grasp.
I love the story about the mouse and mathematics.  Noam Chomsky tells it in one of his many books.  To the ordinary house mouse the idea that mathematics exist is so far beyond its capacity to comprehend that we immediately get that there is no way to train or teach a mouse that mathematics exist.  Yet I know that even though the mouse does not get it, in my world which is essentially the same universe that the mouse lives in, mathematics does, indeed, exist.  So what stops me from thinking that there may be concepts out there that exist in my universe that are beyond my ability to comprehend in the same way that the mouse can never get mathematics, might there be a consciousness that is out there in my world that is beyond my ability to comprehend.
We have been involved with the study of human consciousness long enough to understand that we once believed that the sun revolved around the earth and that it was flat and not round; and there was a period in time before Caravaggio when light could not be painted onto a canvas.  There was a time not so long ago that people could be slaughtered and tortured for believing in anything less that a literal interpretation of the Bible.  There was a period in time, not so many years ago when 99% of the people had no capacity for reading language and perhaps only some 10,000 years ago when language was even invented as a way to communicate from one human to another.
When we look back at the passage of time, we are but a speck in the cosmology of existence.  The entire human race is merely a speck in the evolution of the planet’s multi-billion year history.  The idea of time itself is nothing more than a relatively recent commodity. So, when we begin to be interested in our own history, I mean in the history of our individual being, we are tampering with such a speck of matter and time that our insignificance is daunting.  This does not mean however, that we ought not be interested in what our internal world has to tell us.  For all we know our internal history may have a longitudinal quality to it that rivals the longitudinal history of the universe outside of ourselves.
As we look internally for answers to questions that have plagued man forever, we begin to get a glimpse of the fact that we really do not know all that we know.  There are very few facts that stand up to the eventual test of science.  The sleep of the world is being perpetually awakened by mysterious stirrings within our consciousness that prompt us to investigate facts that turn into legend or myth when they are placed under the microscope.  The microscope and the telescope each have there limitations, neither go far enough or come close enough to satisfy once and for all any of our mysteries.  We simply do not have the width and breadth of consciousness necessary to even ask the right questions.  Therefore, like the mouse and mathematics we can not begin to understand the mysteries that are so far beyond the capacity of any scope that we have to remain tethered to the few threads that we have that imply we know very little about the universes inside or outside of us.
Christian monasteries and Muslim and Jewish temples and Buddhist teachings all come to a very ineffective conclusion about what we need to know in order to live out our speck of time and history.  There is a wish among we humans that something will become an answer, but each answer only opens new doors to be examined and leads us each time to more and more spaciousness both inside our minds and outside of the walls of human consciousness.
Given the vastness of eternity and the speck that we are within that vast eternity what can we realistically expect from life?  Are there ways to position our thoughts so that we can be somewhat more accurate about scoping out the extremities of both the internal and the external worlds that we have come to understand thus far in the evolution of the human condition?
I like to think that there are ways of living life that are more useful than others.  I am not talking about being of use to the planet like a scientist might be when discovering that certain carbon emissions are ruining the ozone layer, or even useful in such a way as to construct a philosophy or a religion that assists us in not murdering each other as we aim for the last few drops of water or oil that we are squeezing from the shale beneath the surface of the earth.  These of course have there place and their usefulness, but neither science nor art will give us the answer that most of us are looking for.
So, what are we looking for?  Sometimes i think that we are always only looking for God.  Perhaps this notion of God is the furthest most point in our consciousness that includes the extremities of what we know about and also include the reach just beyond these extremities to that next thing which we do not even know exist yet.  The idea of God may well be the most exciting creation that man has discovered to date.  God may well be the mathematics to the mouse.  All the mysteries, all that we do not understand, including all that we do not even know we do not know–the convenient Word for all of this
may well be the word–God.
In the beginning there was the word.  I think that that is where it started.  And to the current limited resources that we have, it well may be the very extent to which we can go.  Are we really only just searching for the unknown, the ever expanding unknown.  Do we always place ourselves at the furthest most point of our individual existence and look out or in from that perspective and wonder.  Wonderment is a delightful experience.  When we see it in a child or a puppy or any young creature, we watch with amazement as it learns in front of us to solve the problem of walking or standing or talking.  We see an eagerness that includes a kind of vitality that we love to watch.  Creation of any kind brings about a joy in life that allows us to stand as tall as we are able to and to say to the universe, “look at me, see spot run, see spot go!”
The very elementary aspects of learning are the vital signs of life searching for life.  The enthusiasm with which we see spot run is the same enthusiasm that created the wheel as well as the atomic bomb.  As we mix the elements of life together, i  believe that coming to terms with the authentic self, the wandering, floundering self is the greatest meaning that we can give to life.  Be it spent in a monastery or a prison, the search for who am I is the same search as who is god.  The scoping out of who I am bring me closer to the mysteries, the all that is unknown, the great void that exists just outside the reach of my consciousness.  And that is all that is ever really expected of a human life.  As Henry James put it, “the rest is the madness of Art.”
The awakening is never encouraged by simplicity, or by serenity.  The awakening is the result of a fall.  The awakening comes about on the heals of genuine sadness, awful pain, terrible news or some natural calamity that occurs just because that is the nature on life on earth.  The patients who I work with never come in to see me because they have a great life and want to make it better, they come in to see me at the time of a desperate consequence, a death, a suicide, a murder, or an illness of a child or the end of a love affair, the end of a relationship.  People seem to do very well when they are doing well. They are capable of marching to the same marching orders that they received years ago as long as nothing interrupts the tempo that they have grown accustomed to.
It is an encounter with darkness that either brings about an awakening or further casts that person into a deep well of depression.  Depression is the result of an encounter with life that has grown sour.  Depression occurs when a terrible thing has happened and the person find himself unable to cope with the terrible thing.  Depression is never caused by the terrible thing, it is caused by not coping with the terrible thing.  There are countless books and countless television shows that delineate the process of depression.  What i am interested in, in this this essay, is not the fall from which a person does not get up, but the fall that produces within the person an awakening to the internal life that might have been previously ignored because thing were just going too well.
When I was first starting my analysis, i remember telling my analyst that I had a good childhood.  I was brought up in a poor family but it it was a family that had good values and deep pockets when it came to compassion.  I always had what I needed and many of the things that i simply wanted, like a shiny new English bike with skinny tires and three speeds and a leather seat.  My analyst responded with something that i thought at the time was very strange, he said,  “I feel sorry for you. It will be more difficult for you to undergo this analysis because you will resist knowing your darker nature.”
It turns out he was right.  My love affair with my good grandmother and my hard working parents made it nearly impossible to understand suffering.  As the years went on and my losses, my inevitable losses, began to accumulate, I found I had little coping skills for even the slightest inconveniences in life.  Still today I rage at the dying of the light.  I still want the life that I had when my child like naivety protected me from all that was bad and evil in the world.
I sprang forth into adult hood with a vengeance and an arrogance that had me believing in my rage as a sword of justice.  I took it upon myself to discover the slightest injustices and went after those wrongs in people as if I was spider man himself with the joker in his sights.  My introduction to loss and life was met with a crusader like passion.  I believed in my righteousness and my righteousness gave way to a grandiosity and an arrogance that nearly cost me my life and in the process broke the spirits of people near me that I loved.
My awakening was not easy on me, but it was cruel on others around me.  I fought my awakening with christian like vengeance.  It was only the extreme sorrow of seeing the pain on the faces of people that I loved that eventually helped me to crawl up from the depth of the pit that had swallowed up my soul.
As we wander through this life amid a series of good fortunes and horrible luck we are struck by the passion that a fall has on our consciousness.  So mush stronger is the influence of pain on our motivation than the influence of pleasure.  As we careen though life sometimes hurting sometimes loving, the real sense of who we are comes more into focus as we discover that we have an inner eye that has the capacity to watch the machinations of the ego.  When it finally occurs to us that not only are we capable of doing something, but we are capable of watching ourselves do something, and are capable at that same time to cast a judgement on that action; only then do we begin to understand the deeper influences of the instincts, those ancestral callings from the wilds of our inner workings.  It may be a collective consciousness or it may be a collection of historic facts and events that accumulate to an awakening of sorts; but what ever it is, it is the most powerful experience we can have.  Pain so great that we think we can not bear it–that is the ancient call of the wild that finally beckons us to resolve our conflict.
Much has been written about the usefulness of the persona, the egoic self; and of course, we can not grow up without an ego guiding us and collecting information that we need to have to defend ourselves in a world that can be hostile to our lives.  But in the same way that we eventually grow up to distance ourselves from our parents, and we begin to have thoughts of our own about how we want to proceed in life, we also need to begin the final phase of individuation by distancing ourselves from our own egoic personas.  The move away from taking commands from the ego and following the rules and the regulations adopted by the growing ego, is the final stage in awakening to the wider consciousness that has us connecting with the more cosmic elements of being alive and being human.  This is the only way to the divine.  That we can have an individual relationship with the cosmic greatness and that we do not need an intermediary to guide us is a true religion.  The spiritual well-being of our souls can not be discovered by tweaking the ego further.  Our soul is simply not our self.
A question that arises as we talk about this egoic drive and the default position of the ego has to do with the “how” of this mechanism.  How do we move our ego aside sufficiently so that we are not eclipsing the deeper and the wider instincts of our consciousness?  How do we take something as intangible as our own ego and move it aside?  First we need to acknowledge that the concept of the ego is a bit like the concept of time.  We have invented it as a way to segment something that is otherwise too amorphous to comprehend (something the mouse has not yet learned).  Time only exist as a convenient way for us to allocate our attention in a orderly way.  In actuality time is a purely abstract condition that works for the purpose it was designed, but is not in fact a reality of the physical world.  The ego works in a similar manner.  When Freud assigned the word “ego” to the concepts that he was working with, he did so in order to segment different aspects of the psychic apparatus so that we could talk about the processes that interplay in a dynamic fashion inside of our heads.  In fact there is no more reality to the ego than there is to time.
Given this fact it feels somewhat strange to begin talking about moving it around when it fact there is no “it” to move.  Yet, however insufficient the arbitrary concept is, it does allow us to assign words to certain functions that we subjectively know are taking place within our consciousness.  It is clear to all humans that words are being used internally to communicate with ourselves as surely as words are being used to communicate with another person or another organism.  The word order, the rules that are constructed entirely out of words exist inside of our minds and give us commands and remind us of things and circulate internally in such a way that we can be creative and come up with brand new sets of words — constructructions into phrases that have probably never been used before.  If I say that colorless green ideas sleep furiously, you know that I am speaking a phrase that is grammatically correct, but the words create an entirely non-sensecical sequence.  Then mean nothing.  But inside my head if I say the words, “shut-up, don’t say anything, you are only going to get yourself in trouble if you say that out loud,” you instantly understand under what conditions those words might be spoken to ones self.
So, who is speaking to whom?
I have the linguistic capacity to speak words to myself.  I can convince myself to do something or to not do something.  I can do this because I have the internal capacity to speak to myself in much the same way that I might try to speak to another person.  But, when we stop to think of this process we are left with a quizzical inquiry.  Who is speaking to whom and what is the purpose of language when It is contained narcissistically within the confines of our own head?  In the practice of psychoanalysis it is a common theme to assume that all conflict originates from a conflict within.  When we begin to look at the ambivalent ways in which we can be of two minds about something we are closer to understanding that we possess a very active divided mind and we might even be able to make use of some of the early Freudian concepts like the ego and the id.  We can assign one side of the conflict (say something) to the ego and we can assign the other side of the conflict (don’t say anything) to the id.  We are essentially making use of the duality of our opinion and internally tossing around the pros and cons of what position we will take.
The importance here of recognizing this duality lies in the fact that the duality represents two arenas of the brain that have two distinct modes of operation and two distinct purposes.  The relatively newer part of the brain, the ego, has been commissioned to defend and protect the persona.  In other words the defenses of the ego are there to protect the integrity of the ego.  The id or the more instinctual self is an older part of the brain and it is commissioned to operate essentially out of the drives basic to survival of not only the individual but the specie as well.  So the ego has a place in society as an arbiter of good will, but the instinct has the nose for sniffing out potential danger much greater to the organism that simply maintaining social accord.
Our inner workings establish themselves in compartmentalized or segmented fashions. We can not really claim that one of these operations is better or more needed that the other, the lungs are more or less important than the heart.  Both organs have there duties in the autonomic functions of the organism.   Having said this, I want to aim our discussion in a specific direction.  I want to talk about the ego as not only indispensable, but as a condition of being human that has so taken over the sense of self that it is frequently no longer possible for people to be able to talk about their souls.  I can go a step further and add that if we like to we can begin to use the word heart and the word soul interchangeably.  I think it is more than a simple metaphor when we say to someone, “I know this in my heart.”  When we refer to something being heartfelt or when we cry that our heart aches we are speaking of an element of us that is not the same as the persona of the ego.
Individuation from the ego does not lead us to a simple void.  Individuation from the ego brings us closer to soulful and heartfelt conditions that are not assessable by the ego alone.  This spiritual condition has never really been the purview of psychoanalysis or psychotherapy, but what if it were?  What if the end of an analysis were to bring about an end to the reign of the ego and usher in a new marshall.  There may never be an end to the ego, but it might lose its weighty influence on us when we start to understand the awakenings that heartfelt sympathy can have.  Sorrows and regrets are as much a part of life as joys and concerns.  When I hear someone say they have no regret, I think to myself this person has not yet awakened to the full impact of his or her soul.  Regrets and sorrows reign sovereign in the person who has awakened to the wider consciousness that the ego sit in.
Joys and sorrows are soul felt, heart felt aspects of us.  They are more than an emotion running through as a response to an event.  Joys and sorrows are a cornerstone to the human condition.  Something or someone can make me happy or even make me ill, but only my direct contact with my soul, my heart,  can make me feel a deep joy or a deep sorrow.  The ego in its marshaling commanding way of defending against the world does not permit intensity.  Intensity in the ego is manic or depressed.  Intensity of the soul is a fullness that can only be experienced from within the deeper structures of our being.  The conflict that arises within, and all conflict is really within, comes from the persona arguing with the heart.  Conflict occurs when we react rather than recall.
I have grown to love and honor my regrets as the word of God.  My regrets are absorbed from a place that gives guidance.  Guidance like we receive from a friend, from a therapist, a priest or a minister is often guided by the deeper principle that have created a joy or a sorrow.  We would like to turn away from these massive opportunities, but when we do we are left with insufficient answers.  We are left feeling shallow, or un finished when we have not delved into the abyss that feels like a void to search in the darkness for that ember of light that only glows from within.  That glow of light is God, it is my soul, my heartfelt compassion for not only others but for myself.  When we find that location we know that we have arrived at a truth, at a revelation that comes from an accumulated consciousness that is greater than the knowledge we possess by the simple workings of the mind.  We push at the very envelope of time, we are at the most extreme end of our consciousness when we allow for these deeper instinct to emerge from the primordial ooze.  This is the journey that gives light to the darkness within.

Longing, Loving and Other Forms of Masochism

Longing, Loving and Other Forms of Masochism

The phenomena of Loving and the phenomena of Longing have long been confused. Although both states require an object
of attention, each state is experienced to varying degrees and at different times in the life of the subject. Loving is the feeling
we might have after an ejaculation, while longing is the feelings experienced prior to ejaculation or orgasm.
Not many people have appreciated the extent to which Freud went to understand human behavior. Until his writings, intellectuals
and academics of the day were not inclined to view sexuality with the central role that it plays in the every day life of an ordinary human being.
Freud brought the attention of science and medicine squarely onto the forbidden fruit of sexual appetite not only as it applies to the genital regions of the human body; but as it applies to the very heart of human desire.
Desire is the fundamental aspect of the human mind that drives the individual human and is the motor of civilization that has propelled our
specie to its hight of success in the building of social order. Sexuality as the prototype of desire is one of the fundamental concepts that needs to be understood if we are to reconcile the many obvious ways in which sex has held us back as well as the many ways it has provided with the energy to propel us forward.
Freud’s theory of sexuality as a prototype for psychic energy is as well known as it is disputed. But for sake of this article, I will assume that you understand that it is possible that the mental energy we expend in the course of daily living has both a character of desire as well as a character of force. The libidinal energy is the energy of desire and to english speaking audiences we can dispense with the word, “libidinal” and use our english word, “desire” to talk about this action. The second character is the drive of aggression, that is, the force that we need to expend in order to obtain the objects of our desire, be that a score from a wild beast hunt, or the latest electronic gadget that we can’t live without.
My patients often hate it or love it, when I refer to this system of engagement simply as fucking and killing. But the desire to sexually release energy as well as the aggressive force needed to tear apart an orange, pluck it from a tree, stick your finger in its navel and rip apart the skin and flesh in order to get to the succulent pulp which you will stuff in your mouth, masticate it to juice, and then begin the process of digesting and eliminating; this process is part of the cycle of life and death. At every turn, life involves desire and force, or to use Freud’s words, sex and aggression.
In relation to psychic energy there is a dichotomy that is less explored in the literature: the difference between the state of loving and the state of longing. At first glance Loving appears to be calmer, smoother, and maybe even less passionate that the state of longing which tends to be aggressive, maybe addictive and full of a yearning for something that feels to be just beyond our reach.
Frequently patients come in to my office having had a life time of unfulfilled longings, and then I hear them say they have not been successful at love. It seems useful to be able to understand that it is not possible to be successful at longing because the very nature of longing is that the object of desire is still out of reach. However, because longing involves the same type of psychic energy, it is easy to see that if your connection to what you think is love, is really a connection to longing…then the very acts that you commit in order to long are met over and over again with a sense of failure because longing does not involve reaching the object. In this formula a person can believe that the energy of longing is really simply an unfulfilled, or unsuccessful love. In actuality they are not the same thing at all, though their use of psychic energy is similar.
While discussing this topic with some one the phrase came up that I thought was pretty accurate. “Love is the feeling that you have after orgasm, and longing is the feeling you get leading up to the orgasm.” This seems to me to be an accurate metaphor to discuss what the problem is with love. The problem with longing is clear. That which you want is not present. But the problem with love is a bit more complicated. Another way of stating the problem is to ask why the blush of love fades so quickly after marriage or moving in together. And again it is sometimes stated as the difference between falling in love and being in love. The process of falling in love is probably a strong longing to possess the object and when the object is possessed the psychic energy needed to capture the object is no longer needed. What is left is the captured object.
So what do you do after you say hello?
Longing is filled with passion and promise, Freud in one of his early articles refers to falling in love as a form of psychosis because it involves illusions and delusions of grandeur. The process of sexuality involves this same type of energy of longing while moving along toward the completion of the sex act. In the process of sex the moment is all about a rapid race to a conclusion. The pleasures involved in copulation are physicals sensations that are building toward a climax. The process of building the sensation is intensely pleasurable. But as soon as the orgasms is reached, the intense pleasures of reaching for, come to a swift end and you are left with a withering comfort that is more a sensation of after pleasure that actual pleasure. Though, we need to be careful here in this description, because the state of comfort and released passion is also a pleasant one, it just does not have the intensity of emotion and sensation that is part of the building up to conclusion.
The point of this description will undoubtedly bring some challenges and criticism to this post and I welcome those arguments. But to get on with
the intent of this essay, I want to make the comparison that longing is all the emotions and sensations that are part of the build-up to a climax and love is those feelings and sensations that come after release of that building-up passion.
This bring us directly to the point of the essay. The facts of mature love as it is often called are all wrapped up in sensations of comfort, and security and aspects of loving that have to do with commitment and remaining in place. So the experience of a mature love will not be riddled with the sensations of passion that falling in love possesses. The couple that has stayed together for a period of years begin to know each other well and this understanding brings about a comfort that feels safe. But while this feeling of safety and security and being understood is pleasant we still possess the memory of what it was like to be involved in the chase for love. In other words we have a memory of the feelings involved with longing and those feelings have a wild attraction attached to them.
The desire to go back into a state where the object of the desire is not possessed yet is a desire to be youthful and passionate and filled with sensations of building toward the climax. Frequently this desire for longing is seen as a specific set of feelings that the person wants to experience again. But in order to successfully bring your self back to where you are not yet possessing means that you have to leave the more mature relationship that has already passed through that phase. In some cases the desire to remain in a state of longing is so strong that relationships never get to the belonging stage. They are often discarded before any commitment is formed.
In addition most people are not thinking about these feelings and sensations in the way that we are intellectually discussing them in this essay. Instead the person is filled with an urge and a sense that they are compelled to recapture these intense sensations and the idea is that both the sensation of passion and longing and the sensation of having and commitment is just one long continuum. The next longing will lead to some kind of perpetual longing that will ultimately be satisfying. But the first part of the fantasy does not attach to the second part of the fantasy and soon the person addicted to longing will have to abandon the new object because it too will inevitability turn into” having” at which point the feelings of longing will again be lost to a mature love or commitment.
The desire for longing does not go away for having possessed. In some cases the repetition compulsion is glaringly visible from the outside but very hard to discern if you are the person lost in this matrix. The way out of the cycle has to begin with a recognition that longing is not the same as loving and that longing never leads to a love where longing will never again be experienced. One has to understand that these two states have very little to do with each other. When one compares them it is a little like comparing a piece of chocolate with bowl of oatmeal. Both have their place in our lives and one will never replace the need for the other.
In the ideal world, a well analyzed person will have a keen understanding of when a piece of chocolate is appropriate and that it will never be as soothing as a morning bowl of warm, comforting oatmeal; and the oatmeal will never provide the succulent intensity of warm chocolate melting at 98.6 degrees slowly dripping down your throat coating your mouth and esophagus with passion and delight.
charlestown, ri

Are We Looking for God

Are We Looking for God

I want to write in my blog because the last few weeks have been so packed with enjoying life that i have forgotten to write anything. I am not sure what that means yet, but I wanted to get it on paper that from my vantage point, at this moment and with the age that I have arrived at, being content with two to three swims a day in a massively turbulent ocean has been as helpful as running the clothes through an old wringer washing machine. I feel cleansed and squeezed dry of all aspirations and have found myself content with meditation, mindfulness & good food.
Tumbling around in a warm ocean while sitting in a tropical depression is not the kind of depression that I am use to dealing with. The depression associated with climate seems predictable and even fun, while the depression that enters the mind like a starving termite enters a piece of wood is entirely too profound to be considered when sitting in the sun. That’s an essay for another day.

Just to make sure that I drive the point home to my readers, I am trying to make you envious. I am wanting you to feel jealous of this respite in the salted, sun drenched stretch of beach known to the Treasure Coast as Surfer Beach. In addition to every one being 19 or 27 and gorgeous, the beach is nearly deserted for miles. The sand is a soft white sand that warmly pushes up through your toes as you drift down toward the turbulent sea, and the glistening beads of water that give everything an emerald and sapphire coloring, erupt from everywhere.

I took Maddie for a walk and a swim this morning and she went her own way and i did not see her again for 40 minutes or so. Eventually she found her way back to me, smelling like a wet dog, covered in beach sand with her tongue hanging out saying–water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink. We meandered back to the the house and she lapped at the water from the out door shower as I rinsed the encrusted sand from everywhere.

One last point in this short post. I want to emphasize that I deserve this contentment with life. First, I worked for it. But most important I not only worked at this, but I studied and researched this. I mean happiness does not come on a whim and it is not securely given like a plaque or a gold star. It is a success that must be cultivated all the time. This does not mean that the cultivation need to be hard dirty work, some might be, but for the most part, happiness comes from knowing how your mind operates and then putting into practice what needs to be done over and over again in order to achieve the richness and the crispness that gives life its colors. Mindfulness, the creating of an awareness that you are somewhere in there doing the experiencing is crucial to feeling a sense of well-being. I am much more than the sum total of my ego.

Mindfulness and well-being go hand in hand. And, weather you approach this from a psychoanalytic perspective, a Zen perspective or a spiritual perspective, each perspective leads to the same end. Enjoying the journey, remembering that the process is as important as the outcome, and above all recalling yourself time and time again to the knowledge of the sensation that is the moment–this is the way forward.

I re-read parts of zen bible while I was here enjoying life and what struck me most was that it was offering a formula and that it seemed to be saying follow this formula and you will be given the way. It sounds christian. Maybe it is. I mean I think that what ever it is that we find, at some level most of us want to call this God. It is difficult to say you believe in God while at the same time professing to be a scientist. But in the long run the two are not incompatible. The Great Spirit, The Universe, Consciousness, A Higher power, The Light Within–these all have in common that they are a substitute for the word God which had become so over used by religion than many of us had to abandon the word because it was just too confusing to reconcile a bearded man on a thrown with a staff in one hand and a globe in the other with what in the 21st century we have come to know as a source of energy. In a way happiness has more to do with physics than any other academic discipline.

The energy of a positive attitude, Norman Vincent Peale aside–is what we are looking for. We are looking for God. We want to find that place internally or externally that feeds us with a sense of peace and a sense of serenity and a believing and an allowing for the good in the world to flow through us. So, if we are in college, in school or in church or in a monastery; or if we are in a lab or an orphanage or a hospital, we are seeking comfort. God gives us that comfort even if how we understand this is that our internal awareness coaches us toward life giving, life affirming events. I can skip a great deal of angsts and simply say: Thank God, this has been a wonderful vacation.

‘Tis a gift to be simple. As I begin to pack and put myself back together to get myself back to the office and to what i do for a living, I do this mindful that I have been blessed with a very deliberate opportunity. My life’s work is searching. I search for myself and for those who i love. I search and help people to organize themselves in such a way that they they will come to understand exactly how their particular mind works. And in discovering they will begin a practice that will help them to discover the divine within, not just once but over and over agin many times a day. Reflection on the moment is the best defense against an ego hell bent on robbing us of joy. As i become mindful that the experience of now is the breath of life, I can let go of some of the aspirations that are overwhelming, and let myself flow gently down the stream of life, anticipating that my needs will be met if i am in touch with my instincts as well as with my ego.

It amounts to a belief that we can indeed trade in fear for joy and gratitude and that this is a fair trade for everyone involved.

Dr. A. L. Dussault,

The Question of Attracting Life Force

Does life force and drive force have a common denominator?  What does Zen and  Buddhism have in common with psychoanalysis? And finally the question of new age thought and theory does it have a place in the arts and sciences or is it a pop culture phenomena?

To begin with, I am not sure that the question matters very much and it may come down to comparing apples and oranges.  Psychoanalysis and New Age thought are not commonly found on the same book shelf in your favorite book store.  New Age material tends to clump itself loosely with religion and spirituality and psychoanalysis tends to be erroneously clumped under psychology. When it comes to filing I would prefer to see analysis more closely related to spirituality and philosophy that to psychology.

The Art of Psychoanalysis has attempted to fight its way into science since its inception.  At the time that Freud himself was writing the science of late 19th century Europe was reluctant to admit his work to the halls of academia.  He was about as welcomed to the science of his day as Emerson was the spirituality of his day.  There is an inherent turf war problem that surfaces as soon as one deviates from the norm.  Five standard deviations off center is enough to ruin the best of relationships.

Emerson fell into sharp criticism with Harvard Divinity school, and Freud was not welcomed with his concepts and theories of Dreams to the medical establishment of his day.  Both were called shaman.  Step too far from center and even a black person will be called a nigger.

The question for me arises post my analytic training.  While spending some 18 years within and around psychoanalytic theory, I would have nothing to do with New Age material.  I was a snob and a I cultivated a position that it was out of mainstream and I formed a strong negative position of pre-justice.  Based almost entirely on my respect for my teachers and mentors I was unwilling to even look at what the material offered.  This reminds me of my boyhood.  Raised as a Catholic, I forbid myself to even enter a Protestant church.  My opinions were based on the concepts that my community accepted as truth and it was not until the bumper stickers that read, “QUESTION AUTHORITY” were in vogue did I even consider that there might be other equally respected religions in the world.

When we believe that our very salvation, or success will be based on not deviating from the norm it takes quite a storm to correct that narrow position.  The very nature of praejudicium is built into the human psyche as a survival mechanism.  If the object or animal is foreign to me there is a greater chance that it will kill me than if the specie has a semblance.

The old devil we know and the devil we don’t, spearheads the factor of fear and once we have been attacked by our own anxiety it is difficult to shake.

New Age Literature spans an ever wider area of the bookshelves while psychoanalysis appears to have been relegated to specialty shops. Despite the fact that neuroscience seems to be catching up with many of Freud’s theories, psychoanalysis remain a minority endeavor at the butt-end of much pre-justice.

O.K. now for a change in direction.  It seems that the notion of consciousness and specifically the notions of the sub-conscious and the unconscious may well have been adopted by new age thought and simultaneously stripped of its origin.

For Freud and followers of drive theory the idea that desire can be customized to individual wishes is not new.  The fusion of the drives have long been associated with what a psychoanalytic cure would look like.  In New Age thought the idea of want being at the center of success is crucial.  The language used reflects a kind of mystery physics.  For example in the writings of Jerry and Ester Hicks, the notion of vibration is talked about as a signal that the human organism sends out into the universe and the universe responds from a non-physical location.  It is hard to say if they are comparing this non-physical location with more ancient mystical theology like the idea of heaven.

However, regardless of the source for new age thought, the outcomes appear to be very similar.  Praying, or advancing my thought to a better feeling thought and fusion of libidinal and aggressive drive have the same aim and outcome.  Use of the unconscious, the psychic location for the human drive is likely the same source as the idea of divinity found within.  Pulling from ourselves the strength we need to overcome a fear and praying for the help we need to accomplish something, or advancing my thought to a better feeling thought to position myself to receive something that I want, all have in common that we are tapping into a source that feels to be external from the self.

“The idea of the “subconscious” as a powerful or potent agency has allowed the term to become prominent in the New Age and self-help literature, in which investigating or controlling its supposed knowledge or power is seen as advantageous. In the New Age community, techniques such as autosuggestion and affirmations are believed to harness the power of the subconscious to influence a person’s life and real-world outcomes, even curing sickness.” (Wikipedia)

One last observation that I want to make has to to with the scientific notion of falsifiability.  Science has long made the same criticism of psychoanalysis as it has of new age thought.  Scientific proof as the be- all and end-all of human consciousness, has problems of its own. Humanism, spirituality, psychoanalysis, shamanism, religious beliefs have all ended up in the junk bin of science.

I don’t think that anyone has a problem with the fact that psychoanalysis is not the same kind of science as, say, physics or chemistry; but the adherence to scientific methods and the research methods of single case study with the rigor of observation and control supervision add to the dimension that analysis aims to arrive at its foundations and new conclusions based on something more that anecdotal stories.

As we evolutionarily move forward and we begin to bridge new means of communications, we can not help but to consider phenomena that is curious to our consciousness.  The earth is not flat, but it is also not permanent.  We may be able to calculate the distance away from our sun, but that does not mean it is not a living organism susceptible to the same kind of death that all sentient life experiences.  Life as we know it is changing.  Man has become taller, subjective awareness now leads to clues about the macro condition of the universe.  Dogs have a keen sense of smell that man might at one time possessed.  What remains in the unconscious and the pre-conscious from ancestors is not completely explored.

Just one hundred years ago the condition of psychological hysteria was a medical problem, and fainting couches were in vogue.  Today the condition does not exist in developed countries…The very fact of uncovering the mental component to fainting hysterically has through out the past century eradicated the condition.

Likewise, in Zen philosophy and Zen psychology, we speak of the seeds that are buried in the deeper soul of man.  Which seed we water gives each person his and her own personal characteristics.  But what is in common is the fact that knowledge is stored within and a subjective search of some kind needs to take place to discover the nature of these stored, repressed or suppressed conditions.

Post psychoanalytic research is bringing me to the conclusion that more than science operates in the making fashionable or unfashionable particular theories of the mind.  The convergence of theory may well have a philosophical rather than a scientific core.

Man’s search for truth takes us in a variety of routes to get us there. And maybe there are exceptions that God has made through the years.  I am now convinced that were I to believe in God, it, he or she would have allowed a handful of non-Catholic into heaven by now.

Pre-justice conditions more than research methods may have played a role in eliminated certain theories from acceptance in the halls of academia.

I do not find it difficult to accept that if I concentrate and place mental “energy” on to a subject or an object that I want to attract there is greater likelihood of my attaining it than if I am unaware of the desire.  I think we get what we want from life, health, happiness and success by applying conscious thought to our desires.  Whether this means it is mystical, scientific or humanistic makes little difference to the out-come.  And, non of this means that if I concentrate real hard on winning the power ball, that that concentration alone will guarantee success.  It might help slightly is I purchase a ticket and my odds will still remain in the multi-millions.


Bless Me Father

Missing The Mark:  a sin

Bless me Father for i have sinned.  It has been over a month

since my last confession, since then i have committed the
following sins……….
Perhaps it is somewhat overstated, but i am feeling guilty over
not writing a blog-post in quite a while.  All of a sudden I
found myself struggling with the blank sheet of paper and
it became increasingly difficult to put a make of the page.
Some time ago, I would have at least attempted a morning page.
That is an exercise where you write, non-stop, for three full pages.
The exercise is designed to help evacuate the blocks to creativity; but
this time around, I found that I was equally resistant about even
doing that.
I have heard it said that the concept of sin was originally translated
from old Hebrew text that defined sin as “missing the mark.”  It does
not surprise me, because my experiential self is keenly aware that
when I am not aiming for what i truly want, I discover that I have
lost my state of Grace, or to put it another way, I am missing the mark.
Missing the mark or the target is an indication that we are aiming wrong.
As westerners we tend to think in a different way.  When we are not feeling
happy, content or in a state of well-being, we experience our selves as being
wrong.  We become, we identify, with the missed mark and we tend to use
self deflating criticism to punish ourselves.
Actually, a more functional way of approaching not feeling right is to consider
that we do not feel right when we are not aiming for our target.  This does
the wonderful job of not deflating, while it more accurately places the correct
words around the problem.
It feels different to think of not aiming for the right target than it does
to think that we are wrong, or somehow bad.  To accept that a behavior
has to change is different from telling ourselves that we are what is wrong.
So, back to the beginning.  I have sinned, i have missed aiming for the mark
that feels right to me.  And while not aiming for what I want, i experienced
my well-being as decreasing in size.
I am aiming to be a writer and as such not writing is a grievous error that
fills me with the sensation of a luffing sail.  There is not strength, not adequate
drive to bring me to where i can most effectively greet myself.
When my well-being suffers, there is only one concept that helps me to return
to my life:  I am not allowing myself to want what I want.  The question to ask
rather that uttering, “what’s wrong with me,” is, “What is it that i am not allowing
myself to want?”
This thought-action, of asking myself to stop and clam myself enough to discover
how I am off-track, missing the mark, is the hall mark of Freudian Drive Theory.
The libidinal (desire) drive operates side by side with our capacity for aggression.
It is the fusion of want and a capability to see ourselves as resourceful that propels
us with a full sail.  Just knowing that we are aiming in the right direction is enough
to be back in touch with feeling good and reaching for the next right thought–and the next right thing.

to allow, or not to allow……


'To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them or die...' W.S.
to allow or not to allow: that is the question
is it better for me to suffer from my own
ministrations, or would I be better-served to arm
myself against my own mind’s end and to
render myself useful again by letting life
have it way with me….
The allowing of well-being, the confabulation
of joy and gratitude, these are the aims of man.
By opposing the egoic stalemate of mental
conflict, I allow a greater, more natural instinct
to prevail; and when I do this, I am helped by
the laws of the universe to live a natural life
where my next moves are governed by desires
of the heart rather than success of the ego.
Even death of the body, the inevitable result
of sentient birth is served when conflict is
removed from internal dialogue.
Mindfulness, soulfulness is a state of grace
that allows for the human spirit to emerge as
the proper heir of human birth. With the seeds
of humanity all gathered in the unconscious
location, our primary task on the way to fulfillment,
is to allow for the instincts to have greater reins
as we move through decisions that adapt us ever
closer to our own authenticity.
In the mind, which is the seat of our personal
experience, our ever evolving humanity is adapting
to the conditions that it must survive to continue to exist.
When we color the experience with our system of
affectations (gratitude, joy, hatred, resentments)
we are not only coloring the experience of
the moment, but we are coloring the conditions by
which we will be choosing the next moment.
In effect it is our choice in the moment and in the
immediate next moment that builds, in time, the
experience that we call our lives. This experience
evolves as the choices confirm and create a positive
or a negative sensation from which we continue to
co-create our lives and, indeed, the life of all humanity.
Spitit-uality is a word that can hold some of these
concepts up close to our experience. The closer we are
to the truth that we create our realities, the healthier
we become in mind, body and spirit–christianity has
named this the father, the son and the holy ghost. Other
systems of thought and philosophy use similar concepts
to name the experience of living. It does not seem to
matter what system of intellectuality is used to understand
life. The important dimension that we must keep close
to consciousness is that we are ever choosing, and that act
of choice is readying us for the next act of choice. Once
we believe this, we can begin to be more deliberate about
choice and immediately begin to experience the sensation
of co-creating our existence. This brings a comfort and
a joy to life that may well have escaped us previous to
our consciousness about deliberate intent.