Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Mysterious Third!

Relationships make us ill or can cause us to heal, grow, become stronger. People interactions are loaded with a complex mix of ambivalence, toxicity, good energy and exchange, and many times a  confusing combination of emotions. There's a dynamic between people, something bigger than either person, a mysterious third force, energy, dynamic. 

When things take a bad turn it signals the presence of a psychological dynamic gone awry. But, things go wonky for a reason. That purpose reveals itself if we are open to what I call the mysterious third.

The mysterious third is a psychological force, energy, spirit. Thomas Ogden, depth psychologist, writes of the mysterious third as inhabiting all relationships. It attracts us, repels us, causes us to hate, to love, to lust, to settle in quiet intimacy. 

A couple states, 'I don't know what  gets a hold of us. We're out of it. Not ourselves and we end up fighting. Or, sometimes there's so much caring and love we can barely contain it." This is the mysterious third.  

The mysterious third speaks to us. It makes us feel things. It does not lie. There is always something for us in the mysterious third!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Trauma Clots and Secret Places!

Traumatized people need hope! Their life depends on it. Without hope, the psyche flounders, atrophies, may leave, die out. When psyche dies out, we're left literally feeling lifeless, loveless, soulless. It's a sad situation; but, a remedy is in the offing. The god of hope, Hermes, stands on the sidelines, awaiting our call.

Soul needs to be open to hope. Mind needs to be open to hope. Soul is the deep unconscious, a profound repository of hope. Mind is that which we know about self, feelings, memories, experiences. Hermes, god of hope, comes in times of desperation, hopelessness. Images form in the unconscious mind, surface in dreams that offer us a way through the darkness.

Darkness that is stuck is clotted energy. Energy clots when we're traumatized. We freeze emotionally. Emotions then turn into nasty moods. We take them out on others, direct anger toward self. There's nothing helpful about being stuck. Sure, maybe it gives us time for self reflection, but usually I find that it's often time spent in self pity. It's far better to get a hold of what's going on emotionally, learn from it, and move through the clot or let the clot move on its way through you and out!

Michael Eigen in his book Feeling Matters writes about trauma clots: "It takes a lot of patience to work with a ghoul. When you think you know it, it turns into something else. But certain characteristics were clear in a messy sort of way. A lot of darkness, amorphous blackness with variable clots and spreads. A lot of hate and self-hate sprinkled with self-pity. A sense of collapse or semi-collapse, offset by a malignant inner glare, a nasty turn of mind. Hopelessness. And somewhere in the hopelessness, obscure bottomless pain....In the outside world, the psychiatric diagnosis is depression, treated with medication. The inside world, though, is alive with crawling, slithering things, evil whispers, taunts and jeers,  slimy brews, oozing wrath percolating in mouldy cauldrons, teeming dead seas, nearly invisible, inaudible wormy squeals. A lot of death goes on in the deadness, many kinds of deaths within deaths....Insides call to insides and pills may help but do not touch secret places where life grows with little or no light." 

Trauma clots stored in secret places hold wisdom. We face what we need to face, talk through the pain, the shock, the trauma. There's something to be learned. Trauma clots in secret places give us access to wisdom for life and living as long as we don't give up in the getting there, as long as we find and hold onto hope!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Primitive Aspects of Mind--Prelude To Change!

To hit on lethal aspects of mind scares the beejeezus out of people! We've all got them lurking there inside us. They're the destructive emotions that hurt people, hurt ourselves, maim or destroy one potentially healthy relationship after another. They're primitive psychic energies that we need to come to terms with or else they'll inflict themselves onto and into our lives whether we like it or not.

Today I posted on social media, "And now to move into a day of doing depth psychotherapy at full throttle as folks move into realms of mind not heretofore explored and loaded with numinous potential for transformation, often shocking and always enlightening!" In order to do the  exploration of mind that takes us into wondrous realms, primitive, frightening aspects of self need to be encountered. Images from dreams trouble us with what we don't want to see about ourselves. They're primitive, hidden, things that some might call nightmarish. But, we can deal with them and open up hope for healing. 

"YOU CANNOT CHANGE WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU UNTIL YOU CHANGE WHAT IS GOING ON WITHIN YOU," states an anonymous author. Primitive states of mind emerge in daily life because they are begging for attention and transformation. The same old problems and mistakes are preludes to change. Yelling and screaming and howling and raging and crushing self doubt and unending unhappiness and tears all signal that primitive aspects of mind are crying out for attention. 

A guy who many described as "the nicest guy in the world" complained of nightmares in which a face was screaming at him. We explored the image and discovered that "the nicest guy in the world" was bound up with anger that needed release and resolution. A primitive aspect of mind cried out for help. Primitive aspects of mind, once realized with insight, can begin to heal and change!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Intuit Your Answer!

Your back is up against the wall, you're in crisis, there seems to be no way out, you need an answer ---open your mind, intuit it! When problems press hard against the psyche, it becomes white hot. Mind opens up. Answers can come in a flash, or via an unexpected encounter, or through a rip roaring dream that provides a lit up perspective on a dark dilemma that's been plaguing us.

Intuitive understanding is a natural faculty of soul. it can be honed via awareness. The more we are aware of intuitive potential the more intuition speaks to us. Guidance comes as we are conscious of the fact that it can come. In the words of C.G. Jung, “Intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside of the province of reason.” 

Intuition flashes through mind. It comes as image on the white screen of mind. It occurs with inspiration in the moment. Dreams come of meeting up with someone we haven't seen in years. We see them that very next day. I dreamt of an old professor I hadn't seen in twenty years. The next day I saw him driving by. He was a scholar on the depth psychology of inner calm. It spoke to me loud and clear, an intuitive message regarding my need to cultivate inner calm. 

The intuitive message came because I needed an answer. I was open to one. Answers can come within the minute or within the day. Some take longer. The more we look and listen, the more intuition knows we are open to and serious about hearing what needs to be heard and seeing what needs to be seen. In the words of Jung, the message needn't be in the form of a rational explanation, not long or drawn out. It's something that hits us, strikes us as true and meaningful for us  at the time, an answer that lights up dark places of mind and clears through that which  plagues the soul!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life Is Too Much!

No question about it...life is too much! After over thirty years of treating patients in psychotherapy, I'm convinced there's a reason it's too much. It's too much because we're in the midst of a life or attitude shift. We don't want it. We want to cling to the old, tried and true, but misery making attitudes, life styles, relationships. They're what we're familiar with. So, the energy for the shift builds up, and gets to be too much!

Dreams of floods start up, toilets backed up, out of control fires. Life is too much, we say in waking moments. Then dreams too become too much. We're overwhelmed with the too muchness of everything. Relationships start acting up. Work goes into deluge mode. Everything gets on our nerves. It's too much!

So, the thing is...what to do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Don't do a thing. The too muchnees of it all can guide us. It is built-up energy in life. Once we settle, cease our frantic attitude and behavior, the soul sees more clearly. This takes time, for sure; but, mental swirls and confusion part way to a clear mental sky when soul settles. Taking a breath, or two, right now and understanding that life is shifting. We're in the midst of a shift. Energy begins to be loosened, begins to find its way.

The psyche is an energetic system. It is energy. Pure energy finds an outlet. Once it ceases in one direction, it moves into another. Energy doesn't end, die, cease transforming. Energy shifts, is constantly shifting. Your life feels like it's too much because your life energy is shifting right now...no question about it!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Into the Mystic!

"We were born before the wind, also younger than the sun...let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic." There's nothing like the mystic when it comes to healing ourselves. It reaches deep within, and takes what is in need of enlightenment, shines a bright light, and the process begins. Without a doubt, inner depths that form the rich, loamy, soil of the mystic can be off putting. We're scared to go down so deep, into the mystic.

We're scared, until we're in need,sometimes badly in need. James Hillman writes in his book, Healing and Fiction, that "Jung considers Freud too selective, too logical, shaping all shoes on one last. Everything may be founded on human nature, but human nature itself is founded on things beyond human nature." Nature herself is the mystic. When we've suffered in our lives, in childhood, it needs to be dealt with. Freud stopped there. We need to move on. We need to go forward into deeper dimensions of life, the mystic.

"My childhood was terrible", stated a middle-aged man. "It's taken all I have in me sometimes just to survive. It wasn't til I had the dream of  The Great Man that things began to change. I initiated my life journey of healing." William James, father of American depth psychology, wrote of "the integrated soul of all things in the cosmos without exception..." From this cosmic integrated soul, the mystic, came a transformative dream. "It gave me hope. And, I pressed ahead from there." The mystic...it gives us hope so we can press ahead from where we are onto where we are going, meant to be.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mystic Consciousness

A relationship with the mystic in life, nature, the way of all things ushers us into a healing connection with self and significant others. It proves itself a balm in the midst of pulls to find answers outside of self, as is the case in addiction. I remember as a teenager a yogi telling me that mystic consciousness is "the natural high." Now, fifty years later, his words continue to ring true and satisfy my soul!

Lisa Miller of Columbia University recently wrote in the New York Times (2.11.14)research shows that "a personal relationship with a higher power is the most powerful form of protection against the unsuccessful grasp at what william James (the father of American psychology) called the 'mystic consciousness' of substance abuse, and for those in recovery against relapse. While we usually can return to transcendence through reflection and practice, this is not so when we pop in as a tourist, through drugs."

The alchemical Doctrine of Correspondence, "as above so below" takes us into bliss, the natural high, that comes from soulful depth. We can only genuinely feel as well, healthy, as we are living from an authentic place of truth to self and meaningful others. Correspondence means staying in touch, maintaining contact, relationship with self and intimate others. 

Mystic consciousness kindles bliss as fire provides warmth. Bliss glows from deep within. It lingers and is furthered through a reflective self, the practice of meaning and forsaking that which has ceased to be meaningful. "We are constituents of the absolute's eternal field of consciousness," wrote James. The mystic takes us within, to absolute consciousness. There we absorb the healing balm of soulful bliss, a natural high.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Seeds of Potential

Seeds of potential present themselves in everyday life events. The moment, each moment, gives us a seed, maybe more. There's something to see about ourselves or others or the unfolding dimensions of our life. These are seeds and they carry life potential. To be able to see them, spot them, can be as simple as raising our awareness.

Awareness works the soil, takes us into the digging under and the under going of what it is that needs to speak to us. Without awareness we traipse along going through one thing after another, nothing really effecting us, nothing taken in, nothing ingested, absorbed as psychic nutrient. We end up going through things with the shock or trauma, the unhappiness, the pain or joy not being metabolized. We go through things on the surface, they stay on our surface, we surface it along through life and end up skating over and so having to go through the same old thing over and over because we never allowed it, things, happening, and ourselves to dig down deep and under. It's the under going in life that works in the seeds of potential in the fertile ground of upsetting and stressful life situations.

"The art of the fire and the key to alchemy means learning how to warm, excite, enthuse, ignite, inspire the material at hand, which is also the state of one's nature so as to activate it further into a different state." James Hillman, depth psychologist and scholar of all things alchemical, wrote of this alchemy of seeds, the material at hand, what life dishes out to us to work into the soil of our being. Seeds present themselves everyday, every moment, so we can see them, spot them, raise our awareness and work them, our nature, so as to activate ourselves "into a different state."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Inner Truth

"The root of all influence lies in one's own inner being: given true and vigorous expression in word and deed, its effect is great.." The I Ching speaks to inner psychic energy influencing our outer life. Our energy is off, our life is off. There is no way to back away from this inner truth or pretend it's not there. We try to run from inner truth, it gets us smack dab in our everyday life.

Ever felt like something is so wrong and you just can't put your finger on it. That something is always on the inside. It had its beginnings with a fear, a lie, denial of some sort. Then, things start churning, guilt and shame about the fear or lie or denial start burning and get acted out in everyday life. Something out of the blue hits and we feel bad. We've made ourselves suffer for the inside thing we didn't want to face.

The mind blowing reality is that we can deal with outer drama as though it were a dream. Inner truth acts itself out as drama in our everyday life. We can listen to the unfolding as we would a symbol. Symbols carry psychic energy that has a message, conveys inspiration, and generates the potential for change. A person told me that they felt stuck. Nothing was particularly wrong. And nothing was particularly right either. Their life energy was stagnant. This was its own form of dramatic enactment.

One day as they were slugging along in their life a roadrunner sped past, right in front of them, inches from where they stepped. It shocked them. It struck them as lightening out of the heavens. It energized them out of their psychological rut. "I quickly turned my head to look for it. It was gone. It was like it came out of a dream. It was a spirit guide that came and did what it did then disappeared. That's how I took it because that's what made sense to me."

Inner truth as waking dream. Symbols as they come in daily life. Messages everywhere if we will but listen, see, take in and understand. Life gives us chances, hope, meaning, opportunities to feel inner truth and to let its effect be great!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Your Own Skin!

"You know I consider myself lucky. I found myself a long time ago. And I'm grateful for that...It really just means being comfortable in your own skin. That's all enlightenment is, isn't it? The Buddhists can do their crazy calisthenics, their marathons of silence and ritual bullshit, but at the end of the day if someone's happy in their own skin, that's the Buddha. People think they need that perfect job or perfect inspiration or perfect spiritual practice but all anyone wants or needs is peace of mind." ---The Empty Chair by Bruce Wagner

This quote reminds me of how hard we make the process of enlightenment. Often, it's with us far more than we imagine. We look here and there, do austerities, and all the time it's in the moment. We pass up moments. Moments of awe, gratitude, wonder surrounding and drenching us. It's the drenching part, I believe, that frightens us. We want, even crave, peace of mind, being content in our skin; but, so often our healthy desire is from a distance.

People come in for depth psychotherapy and say they feel they're jumping out their skin. It's anxiety. It's the everyday crazies. It's as though we crave peace of mind, but find ourselves colluding with uptight, anxious, crazy ways of living. Dreams are taken over by bugs. We say we're buggy, jumpy, jittery.

We're jumping out of our skin because we need to be out of our skin. The old ways don't work anymore. They need to be shed. The rigid ashram Buddhas, old plastic Jesus, deities of dogma be gone! Human skin, deep psyche, flesh and blood and bone, passion, caring, dreams and visions are the stuff of enlightenment, the peace of mind that makes us comfortable in our own, new, skin!