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

Advertisements

The Bridge Home

the bridge home

 

When the holidays are upon us, the bridge home seems to be a more rickety bridge than usual.  Family life can encompass the best of days and the worst of days.  Remembering that what we fear in life is losing control of our selves, family can induce a loss of self and soul that has us wanting to scurry for the first rabbit hole that we find. It can also hold us in its embrace when the sorrow is too much to handle, and we are overwhelmed with grief.

Home for the holidays with Barbara Stanwyck  living in a perfect New England home, snow bound with a horse drawn sleigh at the front door to bring you into town for the last minute pound of butter or canned milk, was too pretty.  It creates in us a longing for something that does not really exist.  It always made me ask as a kid, “where do they go to the bathroom?”  You never saw in those idyllic movies where and of the “crap” happened.

christmas in connecticut

Life in 21st century America is a dollar driven life with things and events symbolizing an upward mobility and a sense of abundance that is not on the horizon for most Americans any more.  We have what we have, and we have to find a way to be content with that because the upward mobility american-dream-thing is a rapidly vanishing fantasy that is as equally unpalatable as Barbara’s dream in a 1950 Christmas in Connecticut movie.

Even our beloved states of longing seem to vanish with the advent of capitalism replacing democracy as not only the economic system of the american people, but as the form of government and the types of lives that are permitted under this new umbrella of global aristocracy. We have become income driven–not values driven.

As Americans we inherited a transcendental philosophy that was born out of the writings of Emerson, Alcott, and the 19th century Concord Literary Society that became know as the 1st revolutionaries in American Literature.  That period of American History became engrained in us, representing a value that was greater that what money could buy.  The early Transcendentalist saw the natural elements of life as the template to a free and loving society.  It used the natural to remind us of life and death.  It used humanity as the test center that attempted to illustrate that a society, a neighborhood was greater than the sum of its parts.

Communities and families died and suffered and lived and enjoyed life together.  The small town, dirt-road, trails always led to somewhere you wanted to be.  After all it was the the trotted road the got the wear.  Families are pretty much all that is left of this inter-dependent way of life; and families are hanging on by a thread as the holy dollar calls the older brother to Cleveland, and the younger sister to Huston and the parents had to retire to Florida as the Massachusetts economy became too expensive to purchase on a fixed-income.  So middle sister, who was fortunate enough to find a husband and a job in the home town, is now the only member of the family left in the home town.

Is it still home town when everyone you know has moved on or moved away?

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  It is only food and companionship and love that make it happen.  It is not a commercial holiday.  Except for food, the stores have to be clamoring for your Christmas dollar there is no Thanksgiving gift.  And I am grateful for that fact.  Department stores and Big Box stores could starve to death on Thanksgiving and I would have one more things to be grateful for.

I want to make a wish today.  I want to wish that everyone who reads this essay will find a way to promote this message to everyone they know and meet.  I want this holiday to stay free of commercial broadcasting and that there will never be such a thing a thanksgiving music..  I want everyone to be as persistent as they can be to call families together for this once a year gratitude day.

I want the bridge home for Thanksgiving to be free and easy and spontaneous and not filled with expectations.  I want every one who wants to be home for the holiday to be able to get there.  I wish that this message get read by people who are just on the verge of wanting to get home to be spurred homeward by the sincerity and forgiveness that this holiday promotes.

 

Happy Gratitude Day, 2013

Charlestown, RI 02813

Does Your Heart Beat too Fast, Would Therapy Help?

Image
Do You Move Too Fast?  Is Therapy an Answer?
When you string one event on to the last one with no consciousness of the space between one event and the other, you fail to
get the sense that life is filled with billions of moments…little flashes in time that seem to accumulate into one large and
overwhelming question, Why?
Simply, because we do not know any other way, and commerce works better if we are unaware of the torture that speed can have on our
bodies.  The pace of our lives are determined by the mind.  I am proposing that we need to give equal time to the heart.
We all have heard of drastic plans to change our lives from what they are to what we would like them to be.  Frequently the mind
decides for us and it is not always ready to make changes.  You may have noticed that change is not appreciated by the mind despite
the chronic complaining that it does.  The mind want to remain in charge.
Civilization decided some time ago that the reasons of the heart are not important.  The higher reaches of the mind have been glorified.  With this super power reasoning “man was given dominion” over all of sentient life.  The earth and the animals are ours for the taking.  There are no longer fish in the sea, there is sea food in the vast oceans.  We think that resources are plentiful and will last forever.
Nothing last forever.  How did we forget that?
The moments of life can not be appreciated by the mind alone.  Feelings, emotions and sensations give quality to life.  They provide the sense of vitality that
fuels our drives, our libido, our desires.  Without a constant reminder that we need to STOP, stopping will not happen until we are exhausted, over-worked, over-committed and in general we might say that we have lost our connection to our heart-felt condition.
The stopping is the crucial element in well-being.  If we continue to string events one onto the other will fail to recognize that the information coming from the heart/body matrix is where our survival mechanisms live.  Survival lives in the heart.  The regulation of its beat is something that we have to take charge of, because the egoic mind is not interested in living well, it is only interested in competing, winning, remaining in the status quo and in general, it wants to stay in charge.  Like an over-reaching corporation with a maniacal CEO, the wealth of the company is more important that the lives that actually make up this company.
If we have a maniacal CEO running our bodies, it is time to fire the boss and look to the cast of supporting characters to learn what is needed to operate more smoothly, comfortable, with minimal stress and with a beating heart that reminds us moment to moment that the very important things in life are hidden in the shadow of the ego.
Therapy, Counseling, advise from a wise studied person can help us to get back onto the track that we are intended for…experiencing joy as a consequence of loving actions taken upon our loved ones and the world.  Stopping is not easy.  The mind will always call you back to its mission, being in charge.  We are like a large political machinery.  We want to win so that we can stay in charge, but all too frequently the energy is put into running the race, not in governing the organism.  Governing with perspective requires us to STOP and be aware of each transition, because each transition sets a new momentum into action.  Each transition encourages the future in its own way.
Help, on-line help, with friends help, or with the help of a professional spiritual guide, we can be reminded that the heart of the matter is to reduce our
beats to a manageable coherent way of life that provides not only opportunities for success, but opportunities for appreciation and gratitude.  The heart needs to be fed.  It loves to enjoy life–don’t deny it.

Sur Le Lac Sainte Jean

 The concept of self-love seems to be under perpetual attack, from the right, the left, and the center.  It seems that self-love, narcissism and selfishness or selflessness are all concepts that manage to disguise the authentic meaning of self love.  For me I find it easier to lump all aspects of self-love under the umbrella of managing ones life.  

    Management is an executive function that has come primarily under the influence of the ego, that aspect of ourselves that we generally think of when we call ourselves by our first name.   Repeat to yourself the following: “My Ego’s name is___(Al)______________.”  That give you a clear sense, and a sense that you can continue to clarify anytime you decide that it is necessary to check in with yourself to make sure that you are on the track for knowing what you want and what you want to do in life.  Without that compass to due north we are, indeed lost in a sea of consciousness.
   The management of self-love will never be satisfying if it emits exclusively from the ego.  Therefore it is of primary importance to we seekers that we know how to subjectively look within for data and information that comes from the other aspects of our organism other than the left-brain ego.  For starters the best way to access our more primal instincts is to simply stop as much thinking in english as we can, calm our bodies by taking simply a few deep breaths, to ensure that we are preparing ourselves for the transition to the search within instead of the objective and perpetual scanning of all that is outside of us. Then calmly ask yourself this question.
                    
               If I could have anything and everything that I wanted what would that be?  If I were able to permit no resistances to
     my most heartfelt desires what would that look like?  
 
  There has to be no moral, no religious, no social or civilized judgements about your most inner and most personal wants.  This simple exercise in Letting-Go of Fear requires abject honesty with yourself and perhaps with your analyst, but with no one else, not your beloved partner, not your priest or minister….this is entirely a personal inventory that will help to guide you toward finding the star that you want to hitch a ride from. Keep in mind we are lost in
a sea of consciousness until we know our true north.
 
   Self-Love is a state of human affairs where by we understand that the primal objective of life is to successfully survive.  Self-love begins with an ability to access our survival instincts.  These instincts however are hidden under the shadow of the ego and getting to these instincts means that we have to be prepared to have a discussion with the aspect of us that is the Ego.  The Ego, as chief executive of the human organism, will not relinquish power readily.  So, you have to be prepared to go into the bosses office and be entirely straight, entirely honest with what you want for yourself and you must be able to fight off
the powerful intimidating and over-whelming feelings that the Ego will erect as a defense against you wanting to consult the wider sea of consciousness.
 
   Once in the presence of our deeper instincts rather than solely in the presence of the Ego, we can look at forgiveness, compassion we can see that Love is an action that we take, not a thing we have.  We can embrace all aspects of what we want because what we want is as good for ourselves as it is good for people and critters around us.  Narrow in on the positive feelings that would erupt if you were living exactly the way you would like to live your life.  And begin
to believe that you can and will have what you want once you know how to handle the pressures and the stresses of your own ego.
 
   All conflict in life is within the ego.  The metaphor that I have been using about ego induced conflict is this:  “You are going to a horse race with only two horses racing.  You decide to bet $1000 on one horse and to hedge your bet you bet $1000 on the other horse.”   That is the consequence of winning a battle within the ego…there can be no winner and no looser.   
 
   Quiet the mind for a moment, let yourself access anything and everything that you want and place no restrictions whatsoever on that desire….open your eyes and go on living as if nothing happened.
   Then simply let your dreams unfold.Image

 

Sea-Change: A Pope of Hope

Sea-Change

 

We are not always ready for a sea change. We are not always ready to embrace and allow progressive thinking. We tend to want to hang on to our ideas as if the were precious. Sometimes we hang onto our ideals with the same tenacity that we use to hang on to a person,or things, or a drug.

Life has a way of presenting itself in such a manner that we believe that the act that just happened in front of me is the cause for my emotion. That simply is not the case. All kind of terrible events happen to us or in front of our eyes. But our reaction to these random events do not cause us to have an emotion. Our emotion colors how we see the act or how we perceive the person in front of us.

The more powerful our reaction is to an event gives that event its significance its meaning and it value in our lives.

I have experienced several se-changes in my life. I want to say a few words about the most recent which is still resonating with me today.

When Francis was elected to the thrown in Rome, I had a violent, somewhat vicious and totally uninformed reaction to him. One more pompous man dressed in a white dress, covered in gold lame, accessorized in crimson red and wearing Prada shoes…parading around dispensing judgements that were in fact condemnations to hell.

I have to apologize to Francis. My partner was very stern when he told me I was spouting out language that had no bearing on the man himself. I was prepared to condemn him as I has felt condemned by the church.

I was wrong, or at least I now have hope that perhaps I was wrong. His tone and his peace manner imparted in me a serenity and formed a cavern in my heart that left room for reconciliation, forgiveness. I watched with tears as this humble man moved a high liturgy from inside the basilica, adorned in ancient marble and gold and paintings by Michelangelo, to a juvenile detention center in Rome where he proceeded to wash the feet of 12 inmates instead of washing the feet of twelve old Cardinals.

I listened in disbelief when he made poverty into a global issue that we in all nations needed to come to a better understanding of. I read his encyclicals where he instructed his bishops and priests to support civil unions for Gay couples, advocating that we be afforded all the rights and legalities that belong to marriage. He asked that we might keep the sacrament of marriage as unique to the partnership between man and woman, because it was a venerable tradition.

My decades of resentment toward the Catholic church has created a cold spot in my heart, one that I was no longer aware of. But when Francis with his insistence on peace and poverty and humility entered into my consciousness, I had an immediate desire to emulate that humble nature that smiled out of what looked like a man very much at peace with himself….

Who knows, he might be exactly what the world needs at this point in time….I have no need to forgive the church for the insanities of the Spanish inquisition, nor can I forgive yet the insane position that condoms would increase the spread of AIDS.

But if I let myself be willing to hear what he says without first judging him, I think I will have done myself a great favor…..Image

The Great Bell Chant

_1010686

Spiritual awakening is not something that happens only once, just before

we begin the rest of our life…it has to consciously be

made to happen many times and over and over again…

it can begin with bumping into a moment of beauty, like

this incredible tree displaying a last burst of color before winter.

_1010709

Or we can make it happen by developing a practice of listening to a bell and letting the fading sound draw us for a moment into the stillness.  For some an alone stroll by the sea-shore is enough to induce the moment…  I have found that my meditation is greatly enhanced if I am listening to a chant.  Perhaps in time the absolute silence will be the greater gift, but for now, I like to hear the great bells and gongs of the ancient worlds.

The Url below should bring you to the Great Bell Chant, a

soft, very slow admission of quiet into a few moments of our life:

http://wkup.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=183%3Athe-great-bell-chant&catid=41%3Alisten&Itemid=131&lang=es

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.