How Are We to Make Use of these Psychodynamic Facts of Life

GRADIVA

Gradiva…

Living in two centuries, it is natural to long for the centuries of antiquity.  The 20th century with the folks still alive who remembered the later half of the 19th century is a nostalgia that coincides with being young and wide-eyed.  It was a world where happiness was 99% anticipation.  Too young for regrets, the world laid endlessly ahead like a blank canvas stretched clear to the horizon.

As Exit from Narcissism begins to take shape, I am allowing myself the freedom to say that I am writing a book.

The central theme of this manual involves the study of duality as it presents itself in the form of mental conflict.  It is important to keep in mind that mental-conflict bears little resemblance to neurosis or any other illness based model of the mind.

The brain/body matrix manifests the mind and that mind can not be reduced to a singularity. The human mind is experientially and subjectively a duality which is inherently in conflict.  Nothing reduces to one. Anything can be split in two.  The idea of oneness is both an illusion and a delusion.  It is an illusion because our perspective is a projection of our own perceived oneness.  We tend to look out onto the universe from the singular perspective of “I”.  It is a delusion because we want the comfort of oneness, and we are prone to accept reality only after we have washed it with the suds of our perspective.

Both the perspective of “I” and the perspective of our deeper awarenesses co-exist with little to no consciousness of each other.  The acknowledgement of duality is only experienced when the deeper nature is deliberately called up from consciousness by the ego we call, “I”.

We wander between and among perspectives against a backdrop.  Awareness of our duality is barely noticed.  A deliberate command can access the deeper perspective; however, long before we come to understand our nature of duality we have been subject to its massive potential for internal conflict.

Issues of morality and issues with authority plagued us long before we became conscious of our unconscious mind. Becoming conscious of the unconscious provides us with further information than we would have with consciousness alone.  The idea that all behavior is purposeful and guides our decisions our thoughts,and  feelings is a result of the academic study of duality.  Beginning with Freud and Jung as the fathers of psychology we have moved through over a century of deciphering meaning from word and symbols.

Whether our mind is a burning cauldron of creation or an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge, there is no denying the conflict that arises as a simple and crucial aspect of living.  All of our thoughts and sensations have a meaning.  This fact we have inherited through the scientific and literary history of civilizations.

How are we to make use of this psychodynamic fact of life?

The meaning of conflict and our growing academic understanding of conflict as a question begs for an answer.  It is equal in scope to what previous generations asked about the nature of pain in a world created by and all-good God. Conflict stands out from a backdrop of comfort and alerts us to an internal or external condition that requires our attention. Conflict can appear in the form of anxiety and is registered as a sensation or feeling that erupts into consciousness.  Because it does not necessarily rush into consciousness with words what we experience is a sense of urgency and to make it worst, it is an urgency that provides no direction.

Because it is experienced as an intrusion, it is in our human nature to want to destroy it.  It is the classic killing of the messenger.  What ever meaning was intended is lost in the battle that ensues between perspectives of the mind.  The unconscious knowledge is not wanted because it threatens to disturb the sleep of the world.  We ignore or deny  the knowledge of the deeper consciousness to protect the singularity of the ego.  The ego does not want to be wrong and does not want to be caught in a less than perfect light.  Since the ego is the position of the “I”, it carries a great deal of weight toward preventing knowledge from the body to impact the singularity of the self.

The resolution of conflict becomes what life is about.  Resolving questions that arise from conflict promotes success and effectiveness.  Recognizing the conflict within and applying resolution is the process of adult developmental psychology. Living is the perpetual resolution of conflict.  It is deliberate and is never over until life is over.

Our task is not simply to live it is to live well within the parameters created by needing to resolve all the aspects of organic life. It is through the resolution of perpetual conflict–(when we are through taking a breath, we need to automatically resolve taking the next breath), that this successful application becomes the source of joy and enthusiasm.

To access the depths that are within requires a conscious contact, a deliberate attempt to find the source of the body knowledge that holds the DNA of our antiquities.  It may seem a contradiction to invite in a perspective that may cause a conflict, but it is the resolution, not the denial of conflict that creates room for joy and contentment and happiness to thrive.

Living well is only difficult when we insist on our singularity. When we become comfortable with conflict as an aspect of the mind that will not go away, we can begin to understand the requirements necessary to govern ourselves. It is this understanding that psychoanalysis aims for.  Having arrived at concluding a peace with inner conflict we will have achieved a level of adult development that we call maturity.

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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.

 

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

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,
http://mindfulnessinpsychoanalysis.wordpress.com/

https://freeassociations.wordpress.com/

http://technorati.com/people/aldussault/

awakening

_1010156I am not the content of my consciousness, I am not the thoughts and emotions that arise in my consciousness, I Am the
consciousness–itself.  I Am the aliveness of the consciousness.  I am able to look at the thoughts and the emotions that arise in
consciousness.  That part of me that can look at my thoughts is my aliveness looking at my ego’s content.  I am not that content.  I am the larger entity in which the ego emerges.  I call that larger entity the self as a way of differentiating it from the ego.
The Self is a greater consciousness than the  activities of the ego.  Moreover,  much to our delight, the ego can be witnessed by the Self, by the greater consciousness.  It is in this witnessing of the ego by the Self that we become aware to the concept of the duality in the human psyche.  If I can say with some conviction, “I am so mad at myself,”  I am witnessing that there is an “I” observing the “Self,”  an “I” which is mad at a separate object which is the Self.
I AM.

I AM alive and present in this moment.

I AM the persistent awakening,  that comes from an abandonment of  identification with  thoughts and with  opinions and with  feelings.  I have to abandon identifying with the content of the ego in order to experience My self.

We are not talking about a denial of affect, but rather,  about a keen awareness of thought & feeling,  followed by a Consciousness that although these sensations arise in me, these sensations are not me.  They are not me any more than the obsessive ramblings of a narcissistic mind is me.  A deceptively simple but definitive advance in analytic thinking came about when the concept of the Self as separated from the ego was born.  The ego and its location in the psychic apparatus along with the id and the super-ego constitute the location or the psychic place in which the identity is created and maintained.  Thought & feeling emanate from here.  But Consciousness is greater than what arises in it.  I Am the consciousness in which the ego arises.

This duality of identity within the mind of the human being is either the source of great joy or the source of tremendous consternation and conflict.   Because as long as we are not aware of this duality, the ego has nearly total control of our thoughts, our actions and more importantly maintains a  deep and complete identification with these thoughts and feelings as if these are the totality of us.  In this condition the human mind remains “contained” in the ego and this containment is the source of great narcissistic injuries as the individual passes through life thinking that he or she is the sum total of his or her thoughts.  The danger in this narrow vision is that we begin to protect our thoughts as is they were us and in so doing we enter into conflict not only with Others, but we remain conflicted with the greater potential that remains untapped, unknown, undiscovered.  In other words, the Self is hidden or more accurately disconnected from the ego and it exerts no influence in our lives.  We conduct ourselves “as-if” we are our egos.  As such, we wander through life with this life size cardboard cut-out of ourselves in front of us and leading at all times.  Our ego becomes a persona of us and the Self and its magnificent connection with all sentient life is missed.

The very witnessing of this duality is the opening in the wall, the crack in the narcissistic shell, the glimpse that allows us to eventually experience the eternal, cosmic stillness, the ethos from which The Creator manifests through you.

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