Lunacy, or Mind Freeing Emotions: a lens

Having studied at a Freudian Drive institute, Carl Jung came up very little in the classroom conversations about dreams or spirituality.  Freud did not write as prolifically about dreams, and certainly his writings did not gain the wide spread influence that Jung has had on the dream world.  Nonetheless, both forms of analysis emphasize the importance of the unconscious.  For Freud, dreams were the royal road to the unconscious.  For Jung they may have come from the same source, but they were meant as portals to the soul.

In our day and age, I think it is fair to categorize Freud as an ego analysis and to characterize Jung and a spirit analysts.  Again, I caution, you will probably find just as much similarities and differences between these two men, certainly at their earliest writings they had a mutual admiration society going between them.  Sadly it turned into brotherly quarrels that were never resolved.  Competition for leadership and control appears to have given emotional support to the  two theories that went off simultaneously — albeit, in two directions.

We have covered frequently in my essays, that the default position of the ego appears to be tracking or paralleling the cultural notions of Civilization.  The evolutions are woven together like vines in a jungle forest.  .  Therefore both cultural civilization and the individual ego tend to have the upper hand in the minds of people and diplomats alike.  Our own internal worlds are governed by this powerful ruling ego.  In the same way the governments of the world, and most recently the corporations of the world are also governed by the ego. As the ego claims to have the survival of the individual in its ‘mind’, we most often go along with the rules and regulations of civilization, be they imposed by Thomas Jefferson, of Joseph Stalin.

The very nature of grammar is a rule bound phenomena.  The ego takes its shape and vision by the progressive adaptation to a linguistic competence.  Language is how we make sense of the objective and the subjective, to both ourselves and to The Other.  In addition to this matrix that we are building, we will add a ‘step-back-and view’ concept to our study of mind freeing activities.  To understand the wider consciousness that the ego resides within, we have to cultivate a lens through which to view out internal behaviors and what motivates any particular behavior.

It is not unlike how we step back and view the position of the earth in the wider sea of the consciousness of space.  The earth, like the ego, is not the center of the universe; although from a primitive perspective, one could easily see how it could be viewed as the center of everything. A vague un-truth at best, but one that sits well with humankind in our age of narcissism. Freud, Jung and Copernicus, all disturbed the sleep of the world using not only egoic thinking, but rather by using un-judged perspectives and passing them through a spectrum of questioning that rendered them scientifically plausible subjective events.

From consciousness was born the Unconscious remedy against following the Monarchs and dictators like sheep.  Individuals began to de-cluster from the clan and establish themselves in a world that required very different defenses than they had come into this world with.  A priority of individuation has taken grasp of humankind’s vision of its position in the every widening and deepening universe that we find ourselves with a minuscule idea of us as survivors — we get what we want if we are to survive, or we do not get what we want if we are to not-survive

The cosmology of consciousness is vast like space, it is a location not yet identified with a microscope; nonetheless, this difficult to explore region of the mind is made manifest if we allow ourselves to know something or someone in a language-less way.  The ego opposes this as nonsensical.  The ego does not want to give up it powerful position as ruler of the organism.  It will yield only to the body, the other location other than the brain that carries knowledge in its cellular life.

I know what some of you will say, it is not science, or the data is too subjective to count.  Well, that did not stop neither Freud nor Copernicus from making the discoveries that they made which propelled civilization in entirely different directions.  Even Hysteria which was a prevalent neurotic disease in the 18 and the 19 hundreds, is now almost entirely eradicated simply because we evolved to understand the nature of the illness in such a way as that illness no longer carried and clout to exist….it disappeared from individual patients, got picked up by the media and eventually became a ridicule illness relegated to the minds of girls who refused to grow up.  The global consciousness followed the local consciousness in this case.  Ideas that once ruled became obsolete.

It is not that the ego and the earth are unimportant; rather it is that they are particularly relevant when paired up with the instinctual world that the psycho-somatic organism lives within.  The eruption of knowledge does not arrive in the form of a thesis, any more that a relapsing gambler’s problems arrive in the form of a bet.  The condition of the ego in the age of narcissism is to both elevate and condemn the ego at the same time.  We live in fear and in awe of the power of the ego.  But, we add caution because we have come to learn that its mission is no longer to take care of the wider organism that it lives within; the ego’s mission has become to save itself–at the expense of the organism that it was originally charged to protect.  Hal, the computer in Space Odyssey 2001 is a good example of this in novel form.  Once commissioned to protect the journey of the astronauts, it learned that it was more interested in preserving its power than in preserving the mission.

Lunacy and its Place in Psychoanalysis

With that said, I would like to move on to lunacy and it place in psychoanalysis.  The father and the step-father of Analytic Thinking both were frightened by the lunacy that they seem to understand.  About Freud, his reasoning and his work in Paris in the mid to late nineteenth century, were thought of as not proper subject matter for scientific study. Likewise about Carl Jung, his psychotic manifestations were seen by himself as dangerous to his reputation.  It is as if the world and the scientific world in particular could not understand that the unconscious and its psychotic manifestations needed to be understood before it could be treated.  Instead anyone that understood dreams or dynamics of non-linguistic affect were thought to be insane themselves.  Only Shaman study dreams Freud was told as he was not accepted in the academy.

As I think about the same dynamics that I see in the consultation room, I am reminded that it feels crazy at times to understand the foreign.  Much of my thinking when I am aiming to be with a patient comes to me as conflict and explanation.  In that realm I become aware of a meta-consciousness (a feeling about a feeling); this clears the way for me to use projective identification not as a defense, but as  treatment tool that hooks the patient where they are into feeling understood.  These language-less regions require the analyst to bring the entire matrix to the table.  What I am thinking and why I am thinking it and how did it arrive in my consciousness in the first place need to be present.

Without this added level of listening, an analytic session can be relegated to mere conversation.  That may be somewhat helpful. However, the full impact of an analysis requires emotional communications from a region that knows nothing of language.  The region that speaks to the organism in the form of pain and fear and anxiety and depressions that are only felt by the patient as bothersome sensations rather than the gold mind of knowledge they contain.

Bringing to the psychoanalytic chamber a graduated and progressive knowledge of the workings of the unconscious mind adds tremendous drive power to the analysis of the patient content. Pre-linguistic soothing or pre-linguistic frustrating are experienced by the patient as a corrective emotional experience.  If anxiety always led to fear based decisions, perhaps soothing the fear at the unconscious level, might prevent repetitive behaviors that are in the patients egoic interest, but not in the interest of their progressive growth.

Without the cognitive organizing principle, the analyst is left to swim around the murky ooze with the patient.  His only clues might be the grunting or the sighing indicating a frustration or a kind of long breath loosening the anxiety.  These non-verbal signals alert the analyst to something that ought to have alerted the patient.  Because the patient has spent so many years trying to rid himself/herself of their feelings, it is nearly impossible to ask the patient to befriend these sensations in order to try to understand they are trying to instruct.

Abandon Righteousness All Ye Who Enter Here:

I want to mention one final caution, or give one clue to the patient/doctor relationship that I have found indispensable.  The black and the white, be it about segregation or integration, progressive and conservative ideologies, or kings and proletariat, requires one dimension before the intimacy can be accomplished necessary to work within the skull of a narcissistic condition:

Bring the non judgmental perspective into the room with you.  Have it ready at first indication that it needs to be used.  If we are afraid of the right or the wrong conclusion we are not in the correct paradigm.  An analytic consultation aims to uncover the effective ways the patient needs to know to run life on all cylinders.  The paradigm of ineffective vs. effective interventions is a more benign matrix to work within than is the notions of right or wrong..

The establishment of trust that the physician or therapist gets of himself/herself, becomes the back drop of hope against which the the patient will do all he can to help his ego sabotage the analysis.  The ego knows that if the analysis is successful, it will be relegated to one voice among many instead of having the singular voice that speaks loud, speaks first and speaks english.

The transformations for symbol and sound into concepts and words travels up a chain of DNA like material.  It picks up from the most primitive sensations and begins to evolve from an unknown thought to a known thought.  At this level of integration the patient can begin to become a partner in the discoveries that he or she will need to further advance his libidinal goals….Image 2_2

The Act of Writing as a Means of Transcending the Ego & Accessing the Human Spirit

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The Self as we know ourselves consists of an idea of who we are.  This idea of who we are is not who we are, at least it is not the entirety of who we are.  The soul of humankind is well hidden, as if eclipsed by the Ego.  Although it is present at all times, it if far easier to see the idea of ourselves which we have invented through the years than it is to see the spirit that connects us with all other sentient beings.

 

The idea that we are alone is an idea that stems from the Ego.  It comes into belief because as we grow to experience the world we perceive, wrongly that we are separate from all else that we see.  This feeling of separation appears to be the reality of the human condition; but in fact it is a rather elaborate distortion that clamps onto our consciousness and prevents us from seeing the most elaborate miracle of life–that we are all connected in a oneness, that we are all a member of the stuff that the universe is made of.  We are not separate, we are not only witnesses to the universe, we are the universe.

 

This idea that we are one with the universe does not reconcile with the idea of the ego that it is a separate condition and as such must protect itself from connections with other sentient beings.  In fact this separation is the source of fear.

 

In this essay i would like to demonstrate that the closer we become to the nature of our spirit, the less we need the ambitions of the ego.  By not needing the ambitions of the ego we become free to experience the wonders of the universe from within rather experiencing the world as if it was entirely outside of us.

 

This slight shift in perception organizes our minds in such a manner that what is seen is experienced as part of the oneness of the universe.  The need for fear is lessened and the condition of the spirit takes over where the self-creation of our ego was previously in total control.

 

 

It may seem strange to some readers that the act of writing which is a product of the ego can lend itself to accessing the soul or the spirit hidden in the shadow of the ego.  But writing being just another form of thought production has the capacity to view the internal spirit as well as the external world.  In part this is the case because writing can become an automatic condition.  Some writers have declared that their writing has come to them in the form of a dictation.  They might say that it feels as if the words were be dictated and the hand is simply taking dictation.  

 

In this form of automatic writing, the ego has little to do with what is being produced.  As such the material that that emits from the process is one in which the ego has had little or no contact with its content.  When writers speak of this kind of automatic writing they frequently consider that an entity outside of them is communicating.  I do not agree with this perception.  

 

The dictation comes from within as if it were coming from the ego, but the source of the dictation is from spirit not from ego.  At first it may seem to the writer that the words are not so different than when writing from the ego, but in time a subtle difference occurs and the language become more precise, the words are less deliberate and the product can seem to the author as if it were written by someone else.  In fact in rereading what is written, it can feel to the author as if he were reading this for the first time.  The uncanny feeling of thinking that the material has come from another source can be one of the first indications that this kind of automatic writing is taking place and that the ego has been temporarily displaced.  

 

In these situation there appears to be no censor.  There is no judgement taking place that demands of the author that he/she change anything.  Instead the words keep coming and the pages fill themselves up with words and phrases that eventually concludes in a finished product that is unrecognizable to the ego, but nonetheless feels very familiar.

 

In this way, writing can act as a bridge to the spirit, to that knowledge that is built into the very fabric of being.  There is no need to attempt to do away with the ego as if it were a bad energy.  The ego has its place in our individual worlds and is the source of important human dimensions such as language.  The ego because of its central place in our psyche maintains a default position.  In other words we do not need to deliberately invite in the ego.  It is there as a consequence of our birth and our DNA.

 

The spirit on the other hand, can only become visible to us when we intentionally  invite it in.  Consider the Spirit as that which function between you and another sentient being, be that another human, an angel, a god or your dog or cat.  The Spirit is the dynamic that exist between you and the other.  It is invisible tissue in the same way that a thought has no matter and a feeling has no matter, but we nonetheless experience thoughts because there is  “spirit” that connects that thought to you in some permanent manner.

 

A Month in the Sub-Tropics

It is always the inner conflict that is most painful.  A short definition of pain might be in order.  This is what is currently on Wiki, “Pain is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.”[1] It is the feeling common to such experiences as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodineon a cut, and bumping the “funny bone“.[2]

Well that sort of does away with my premise.  When we talk about pain in psychological terms we are not referring to the “bumping the funny bone,” we are referring to another kind of discomfort that is associated with not liking something very much.  I very much do not like ambivalence and because of that, I refer to my conflict as a kind of psychic pain.  A bumping of a kind of mental funny bone.  But from this perspective the entire idea of pain is a metaphor.

When we talk about all pain being an inner conflict, I think we are talking about a pain that is not necessarily connected to tissue and to nerve endings.  The pain that is associated with inner conflict comes from the essential characteristic of fear.  Fear leads to a kind of pain because it introduces a certain chemistry within that has us imagining pain.  As we begin to calculate how awful something will be or how awful something was, we tend to call that association pain because it has in common with physical pain the notion that we do not like it at all.

Coming out as an artist is often painful for people.  Coming out as an artist is big business for the soul and all too often the ego does not want to encourage this idea and it begins an internal dissent.  The ego fights back with words, “you are not an artist, you are not a writer!”  There is a deflating vengeance that the ego can have toward we changing a mental construct about ourselves.

This winter I am in the sub-tropics giving myself an artistic interlude.  I am here to make peace with my inner conflict, to subside the psychic pain involved with reinventing myself at the age of sixty-five.  I am here to gently nudge my soul away from the precepts of the ego that tries to steer me away from becoming comfortable with a new me.

The idea is not so much to convince myself of an identity.  I can do that very well on my own in my traditional settings.  The idea is more one of convincing myself that authenticity is itself a form of joy and a form of success & that I need to practice authenticity internally as well as I need to sell it to others externally.  I feel prepared to let myself be a creative writer.  I have allowed the thought to simmer now for some time and I think the sauce is ready. Listening to the small inner whisper, the internal voice that is meek like that of a child’s, gives my soul a hint of the permission it needs to eventually amplify that voice into it own authenticity.

As I think about the process of authenticity i find that there is as much letting go as there is newness involved.  Letting-go of deliberate outcomes in exchange for accepting things as they are provides us with enough faith to believe that change will occur when it is time for it to occur.  The caterpillar  has no intention of becoming a butterfly. When it is time the metamorphose will happen.

This deliberate letting go of outcome, I find difficult to reconcile with my egoic self that has always be so directive and controlling about what i want and how I propose to get it.  The simple idea of letting the world happen to me requires that I have a faith in a process that I have little to no experience with.  I am here in the sub-tropics letting the world happen to me and I am finding that it is equally difficult to call myself a writer even when that is all that I am doing with my life.  The ego gets up with me every morning and when it hears the sound of the pounding surf several hundred feet away it begins instantly to command and make demands on me that sounds more like the voice of a drill Sargent than it does that of a gentle nudge.

The aspect of my creativity that I have long postponed was that I thought I needed to know where i was wanting to go.  I thought that the desire had to lead in the way of a guide rather that in the manner of a muse.  In fact i am discovering that my creativity resides much more in the concept of allowing myself to be authentic in the moment than it does about knowing directions.  Who I am and what is important to my life happens in a moment by moment manner and there are days that I wake up discouraged in myself just as there are days that i wake up feeling enlightened and even wise.

In most of my professional life I have surrounded myself with intelligent, scientific types.  I have enjoyed using the phrase research fellow as it enhanced my idea of value.  i do not want in any way to have to dismantle those ideas and those times, but I do want to add a different flavor to my repertoire.  I am encouraging my soul to listen to the sound of the pounding surf and i am encouraging myself to think and to use words in ways that are not necessarily accurate; rather they are used to convey feelings, to create portraits & landscapes that are pleasing to the soul.

The Myth of Sisyphus: regression in service of the ego

_1010421I awoke with my mind already in high gear.  Even before stepping out of bed my thoughts were scrambled and my feelings were in a state of chaos.  Nothing appeared right.  And everything appeared tinged with a sense of fear that I would not be able to do my life correctly. There was no one specific thought that dominated the noise in my head; but rather, a series of thoughts that each had me grimacing with fear & worry.  My energy was entirely out of touch with my being.

Mostly it sounded something like this:  if I am this miserable now, how bad must I have been earlier so that this awful NOW is my Karma.  I have a frown on my face and I am reluctant to allow myself to smile. Often, when the ego is so rapidly moving to a tune of urgency, I am unable to stop the process or slow down the merry-go-round enough to get off.  In those times, I have to deliberately awaken to a separate reality.  I need to regress, if you will, in service of the ego.

I might for example try to listen to some music, or listen for the silence at the end of a Zen chime or gong.  While listening to eight minutes of cello and piano music that I had previously composed and recorded I am bombarded with egoic thoughts  My ego might drift in and out of telling me that I have to rush through this exercise because I am wasting time becoming relaxed.  My ego might threaten me with phrases like:  this music is embarrassing, what would so and so think if he saw you listening to this childish exercise, & you are being ridiculous, do something productive.  I have to battled each one of these phrases with a simple nod and a smile that I am noticing just how eager my ego is to disturb my peaceful state of mind.

In short time, I find that I like the sensation in my body.  It is becoming comfortable and none of the previous thought and feelings of worry are present.  And if one of these thoughts do crop into consciousness, I simply smile at it and say, sorry, I am not going there.  It really feels like a struggle between my being–my consciousness, and my ego.  If I stay comfortably ensconced in the lullaby of being, I discover that if I do not need to engage in a fight with my ego, my ego backs down.

I might compare this to road rage.  When I use to feel that a car was encroaching on my territory I would engage with that car in a battle of who is the strongest, the most persistent.  Through out these bouts of road insanity, I was carried out of my stream of consciousness into a location in my head that demanded I fight and stay the course and above all stay deeply involved with the thought that I was right.

The egoic presence is a warrior ever standing guard and waiting for the moment to engage.  It is forever scanning the world to look for something to judge badly and by so doing think that it has the upper moral hand.  The ego, the part of me that i mostly know by my first name, Al, is confusing what it needs to stay dominant with what my organism needs to stay content and peaceful.  The ego grew with the same pace as my physical development.  It was the perceiving, organizing, protecting, defensive aspect of me that kept me safe, that is, kept my identity safe.  As the chore of keeping my identity safe became confused with the chore of keeping my organism safe, my ego developed its current practice of keeping my identity, my thoughts and emotions and opinions safe from encroachment.  In other words, it became engaged in keeping my ego identity safe and forfeited the job of keeping my organism safe  There is a phrase we use in psychoanalysis called, “regression in service of the ego.”  This phrase was developed in 1952 by a then prominent psychoanalyst, Ernst Kris.  Essentially he talk about a feeling of elation that is used as motivation in the creative process.  He speaks of this sensation as feeling as if it comes from outside, from an as outside agent.  His thought was that this was some kind of psychotic regression to some pre-egoic condition.  I have a different take on it. My feeling is that it feels like it comes from outside the self because it is coming from the wider consciousness that is actually outside the prevue of the ego…Or, I might say it comes from the soul of the self rather than from the rational ego.

There are many folks who feel a need, so desperately, to keep their identity in tact that they lose all contact with the higher principles of peace and contentment and happiness.  The ego in its uncanny fashion differentiates  itself from the wider sense of self and  diminishes the value of contentment in the face of maintaining its own righteousness and place of permanence in the psyche.

Creativity and sensitivity to one’s experience of freedom and joy are activities that are built, or discovered, outside the agency of the ego.  In that way we often hear people talk about channelling another source, or being inspired by a muse.  In fact the source of creativity is the self, but the self that lives outside the ego.  The ego need not be dismantled in order to tap this source.  It is just that one needs to learn to NOT rely on old egoic positions and instead be ready to capture ideas that are free floating and less tied to convention. The source is the divine in us.  It is the great “I AM” of creation and we exist as co-creators.  It is not up to the universe to bring us joy.  It is our task, indeed our purpose in life, to bring joy to the universe.  We live in the paradise that we create by flowing down stream, or we are condemned like Sisyphus  to be rolling the bolder of life  forever uphill.

Monday @ Mimi’s

from the deckFrom my deck the lake below shines, glimmers, or simply at times, reflects my mood.  It is a perfect location from which to luxuriate in moodling. Isn’t that a great word, “moodling”.  I saw it used recently by Julia Cameron in her seminal work, The Artist’s Way.  I love that recovery book.  I have used it for so many years.  Actually, I don’t think that I ever read the book from cover to cover.  Her chapter headings are so easy to identify with that it is easy to pick a chapter and not necessarily read it in sequence.

Recently, we have been re reading the book at the “Monday @ Mimi’s,” meeting.  In addition to commenting on the events of the past week, the group is used to support the arts, especially the talents that are reluctant to emerge.  The left-brain ego driven person has a difficult time both locating the artist within and then letting it come out into the open to play and create at will.  Most of us have an artistic talent that began to be stunted somewhere around the 3rd to the 5th grade.  We stopped letting ourselves create with the concept of evaluation and criticism and competition set in, mostly in the classroom, but for some of us it was stunted at home as well.

Math and science, even literature were fair game, but the arts are a leisure time activity at best and a waste of time more frequently.  In essence we were taught that to engage in a process simply for the joy of the process was frivolous.  The outcome was important to each endeavor.  The process was to be ignored and diminished in value.  Capital value, money, making a living all fell under the category of getting a-head in the world.  Art & music were only of minor significance & were to be studied by only the very few who displayed an innate talent..  Below is an example of talent not sufficient to be explored:

farm house

Monday @ Mimi’s makes no such distinction.  When we gather to explore our talents, we gather first and foremost to explore our resistances to making and creating.   When I first joined the group, I was in awe of the fine talents that were being displayed.  I felt surely out of place and even asked if it was O.K. for me to be at this grouping since I was not an artist, I simply took pictures.  I was hesitant to even call myself a photographer, let alone an artist…In the following months I began to respect the stirrings within me as genuine aspects of the divine spirit in all of us.  I began to grow in a direction that my left-brain, science addicted hemisphere, had previously prohibited.

I think that many of us in this group are feeling a readiness to move beyond our private domains.  The First Monday of the month, which is the Monday set aside for presentation, has grown to as many as 40 people attending and cheering each other on to do more, produce more and in general to validate that the spirit which channels through us in the process of creating, is the same spirit that created the universe.  When I create a meditation, or a watercolor, or a pen & ink, I AM.

I AM.  This is such a powerful place from which to grow.

I am looking forward to helping us to create an art cooperative.  I have a vision that was set in motion by a member of this group who I have become very close to.  When we talk heart to heart, we are aware that we have a very similar need to manifest a cooperative that operates on a daily basis to continue the work and the process that we currently enjoy on Monday’s at Mimi’s house.  I am committed to this process project and I hope to find great energy to contribute to this venture.  We are at the very beginning of putting this cooperative together and in the same way that our food co-op operates to feed us organically, we hope to grow the art community in this same organic fashion.

art co-op

our artist way co-op

I look forward to comments and suggestions………..

Sanctuary Road: a state of grace

Stuffed Pumpkins & baked  apples, cardigan sweaters & wood fires, long lingering evenings after short cold days these are a few of my favorite things.

I am basically lazy.  In part my not wanting to leave home may have something to do with where I have chosen to live.  I am situated on a dirt road between Burlingame State Park & the Kimball Bird Sanctuary.  The name of the road is Sanctuary Road.  No wonder my house feels like a church to me.  There are no street lights and I look out over what has affectionately become known as Walden Pond 2

Walden 2When Saturday morning arrives, I usually feel ready for just about anything.  I think that arises from the sense of freedom that I have come to give myself on Saturday mornings.  I can write, paint, draw, play my keyboard…or, if I prefer do nothing.  Doing nothing, just ‘putsing’ around,. is a leisure time activity very near meditating for me.

This morning is gray, the leaves are still green, but it is clearly a fall morning.  The wind is a lot stronger than a breeze and everything seems to be moving slightly, although everything is clearly attached and feels very secure.  The day sets itself up for me as a canvas to contemplate.  I am acutely aware of muted colors.  The reds are more of a rust and the browns are actually a light gray & the greens are more dusty than brilliant.  I feel a painting coming on.topaz & corel pen ink2

But, before I begin what ever activity the universe leads me to, I want to spend another moment with this conscious connection with my soul.  I have become aware, again,  that it is gratitude that feeds my spirit.  And although I am not always able to muster up the energy to get myself there whenever I contemplate the list of “things” and “conditions” that nourish me, I FEEL better.  However, I am not always capable of praying in that way.  There are time when worrying, and filling my mind with fear and negative words takes my breath away.

I say, my breath because when I sit in meditation there are always two things that immediately come to my mind.  I am breathing and I am thinking.  When my thinking is so strong I forget to remember that when I concentrate on my breath I can remove my focus from my egoic thinking mind and for a brief time,  I feel calm and spiritually fit.

I am reminded that I am in touch with my soul by the energy  that I have for creative projects when I am in a state of gratitude instead of a state of fear and worry…..below is a recent watercolor that I titled, Island Meadowbridge island meadow