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The Spirit of Willie….

The Spirit of Willie….

“Hey Bernie, I’m getting hungry.”  “We’ll eat.”

So, I was setting up my computer for a twenty minute session of writing and I Heard, “Willie…”  So I looked up from what I was doing to see what Willie was doing.”  At that moment I recognized that Bernie must have said, ‘we will eat,” but I heard him calling out for our cherished little Silky Terror who died of a long happy life this past year.

This split second of a non-essential event gave me an idea.  Because, how I responded to Bernie was to say, “The Spirit of Willie must be around here because I thought I just saw him.”  What on earth do I mean by that and where inside of me did that nearly autonomic response come from.  I don’t believe in spirits.  I don’t wrestle with extra-terrestial holograms.  “yet, I was sure of what I mean without really knowing “in-english” what I meant.

I am going to use this kick-off story above to engage a dialogue, a conversation with and between spirits that I know first hand with my mind and with my heart,  to be true spirits.

Back in 1913 about the time that Carl Jung was about to break-up with Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung began a new journal that was not to be published until nearly fifty years after his death.  It was a large, red leather bound book in which he recorded his most intense and most internal musings, along with pictures and paintings that might for the first time in centuries rival the illuminates.

It has become know as, The Red Book.  His heirs were protecting the name of the good doctor.  Having convinced themselves that these were ramblings of a psychotic, de-compensating old man, they locked the book in a safe and only in 2010 was the book finally transcribed and published–psychotic ramblings and all.

I am told that if there is a theme to this red book it is the rebirth of God in every soul.

He had my attention.  For the last six years since having left the modern psychoanalytic institute in Brookline, Ma, I have been researching the inter-disciplinary connections that psychoanalysis has with the rest of the world.  In many ways the psychoanalytic movement is somewhat of a liberal, philosophical science, that has spent as much time proving to itself that it is a science as it has spent advancing that science.

Having said that, the best education, bar none that I ever participated in has come directly and indirectly from the unique and sophisticated techniques that facilitate, like nothing else that I know, the art and science of learning how to be with a patient.

Continuing the theme of the divided mind that has occupied most of the essays thus far, I would like to have us look at what Carl Jung had to say about the idea of a divided spirit.  Early on in the new red book Jung refers to a “spirit that rules the depths of everything contemporary.” And shortly thereafter he refers to, “a spirit of the depth from the time immemorial.”

Jung plays with these two spirits giving them voices. As I read his words my rendition of this calculates well with what I have been referring to as the ego (the CEO, the self, my first name); and the second spirit aligns well with what I have been calling the deeper instincts.  I add this here because the use of the word, “ego” really need to be defined each time it is used.  It is an amorphous word that carries almost as many definitions as there are writers who use it.  It is best to use the German idea (self) as it is the most generic and the closest to the classical use of the word. (1)

The following is an example of a dialogue I might be having with myself. I am using it to illustrate the commons sense value of our subjective understanding.  How do we interpret the symbols of our communications with ourselves?  Can this view give us a practical look at the simplicity of becoming aware of the duality of our nature?  Jung begins this way: “God is a symbol of libido; that is, the God image vs. the metaphysical existence of God.”

The ego speaks in this way–this and this alone is who you are.  This, the corporal you, the linguistic you, this who speaks of good and evil, and right and wrong; this is you.  Then in a low, calm whispering voice this spirit came to my inner ear and spoke thus:  You are a mirror of antiquity, you are an image that reflects the mysteries of light and darkness, you are humanity, you are the outer limits of knowledge.  You are The Creator of your world.

Well, you can imagine that I was more than surprised after thinking that I saw the ghost of Willie to be confronted with these two internal views of myself was disconcerting.  But the magnitude and the grandiosity of it all appealed to my well honed narcissism.  Like the true addict that I am, I immediately wanted more.  I was becoming tantalized not only by a book, but but how quickly that book resonated with my internal understanding of my eternally conflicted mind.  Here was an opportunity to ask myself, “just what kind of opportunity is this, what am I to be gaining by entering the spirit world.  After all, I am the one who perpetually claims that it does not exist, so humor yourself, Al, go for it, you love the challenge of newness.  You love the tenderness of fresh warm flesh and the emerging of enthusiasm, if not joy–allow yourself to enter this world that does not exist.


(1)     “Ego” is a Latin and Greek (ἑγώ) word meaning “I“, often used in English to mean the “self”, “identity” or other related concepts. Ego, one of the three constructs in Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche;  Ego (religion), as defined in various religions in relationship to self, soul etc.


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Introducing: Matthew J. Cutter’s “Rooftops”

I decided to publish this short commentary on a masterpiece, Rooftops,” that I viewed recently. I choose to publish it here on my psychoanalytic web-site because it illustrates the power of the psychoanalytic model.  The short critique below is an example of applied psychoanalysis.

The modern psychoanalytic  method is used to develop understanding. By training the mind to use perspective with both a logical and a subjective view of the object, be that object person, place or thing, analysis allows for us to reach for deeper, or higher concepts of sight and insight.  I will publish this same critique on my “Writing With Light” blog.


“rooftops” is demanding to be interpreted.  Yet it communicates only silence.  In that silent darkness there is a soul boiling over with unrevealed heat.  It erupts into consciousness the way a volcano erupts onto a landscape to create hills and mountains. Your eyes are following a lava stream of light to the top of the painting.  You enter at the bottom or near the center, and the painting moves your eyes gruelingly, slowly to the only sign of life at the top.

rooftops, matt cutter

The painting draws you in. It seems to depict the struggle of the “equalities of poverty.”  Whoever lives in that cubist village is at oneness with the village. On close examination we see subtle distinctions; but it barely implies a distinction between life and death.

The structures could be monuments in a cemetery as easily as a run-down township, filled with semi-lifeless organisms that have no sensations except that of scraping their bellies on the ground-down dust of an industrial township anywhere in the world.

Regardless of how you approach this painting, you are instinctively struck by a juxtaposition of indexes.  Colors, values, tonality and structure all combine to form a oneness.  There are no individuals in the painting; there is no life in the painting. The sense of entrapment is depicted by black, and you only see light where the encrusted blackness of smog and time is scrapped off.

Matt J. Cutter is a genius.  In this piece titled “rooftops,” the work of art has a mission of its own; but that wonderful anywhere-in-the-world location, that sepia & cream, gem of a masterpiece has a creator.  I am imagining a gentle depth of spirit and sense of oneness with the world must emanates from the artist in order for the work to be able to stand on its own and make such a stately comment about the place of “Everyman” in our world.  It is easy for a pretty painting to convey the emotions of joy.  It is an entirely different subject for a painting to explore the darker elements of life and still remain a beautiful work of art.

I am impressed with the emerging themes of the unconscious.  The primitive location in humankind where our cells call upon us to visit with our instincts, (regardless of how vulgar and how un-mainstream those instincts are), is not just a part of this painting, these pre-verbal instincts are the painting.

There are many ways that this painting draws you in.   In Psychoanalysis we use a French word “Gaze”* that implies a sort of looking into each other’s eyes. This painting looks back at you.

I find that this work speaks to me of the unconscious helplessness of the masses.  It could be Winnie Mandela’s Africa, or Gay Ghetto’s in Paris, or the plight of the steel worker in Ohio, or a tin-top and cinder- block village in South America. It is the darkness of the underbelly of mankind that is depicted here.  However the painting creates light and hope by essentially and literally scraping back the darkness.

There is no source of light in the painting, no reflective light. Whatever hope there is must be intentionally and deliberately pealed back by scraping away the darkness.  It is rare to see a work depicting the under-belly of our cities and still retain its capacity to convey beauty.  The Gallery where this master work currently hangs is listed as a URL below.  I have permission from the artists to include a small photo of this exquisite mono-tone.

I decided to publish this short commentary on my psychoanalytic web-site because it illustrates the power of the psychoanalytic model.  The short critique above is an example of applied psychoanalysis.  The modern psychoanalytic  method is used to develop understanding. By training the mind to use perspective with both a logical and a subjective view of the object, be that object person, place or thing, analysis allows for us to reach or deeper, or higher concepts of sight and insight

As always I would love to hear your comments or questions.  It is rare that a particular work of art produces the kind of heart-felt emotion, and I am very happy to be sharing my thoughts with you.

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All Roads Lead to Rome: the force behind a wish that activates the human capacity to manifest

Good Morning Page:
I have been very lazy.  I have been on a vacation of sorts and I am awakening to the idea
that I am ready to go back to work. I wonder about a life after retirement and if I could really
do that without suffering the pains of outlandish boredom.  I think that I can find myself tied to obligation
in a way that a dog finds himself wrapped around a tree, he knows there is a way out but just
can not reason his way to freedom.
Such is the daily dilemma of existence.  We can envision a freedom, but allowing ourselves to have that
freedom is a different story than the simpler envisioning.
You see, perspective is one of the functions of the ego.
However, because every function of the ego is also a defense against death, it does function to give-up a clue about the landscape of life as we live it and as we see it.  The old spiritual idea that we know all that we need to know to fulfill our purpose here on earth is an adage that appears to be holding true in a secular society.  There is more than an afterlife that can induce morality.  We are apparently wired to higher instincts.
As we go through this journey, whirling about in space on a small ball of molted ash that has been fortunate enough to have an atmosphere, we can stop to ask questions; or if we prefer, we can let circumstances push us to and fro.  Life can looks a bit like a shopper in a pedestrian mall.  The perceiving-organism waltzes from shinny object to shinny object looking for the “je ne sais quoi”.
The decision to advance through life letting circumstances move you is not so unlike advancing through life rationally attempting to find answers and attempting to control what experiences you have.  From the outside both lives will appear to be on a trajectory from birth to death (1886 -1960).  Both lives are perfectly normal.
(1886 – 1960)  You see those numbers.  They are arbitrary.  What is really important in that little symbolic sequence that starts this sentence is this:  The dash ( – ).  Yup! what is important in that symbolic sequence is the dash between the numbers.  Where we come from and where we are going is a very limited question.  It has to fit between the parenthesis or else it is a vision, or perhaps, an hallucination or a distortion, or even an intellectualization or a denial.
Your life will have a trajectory weather you give it one or you allow one to develop.  The trajectory of life is guarded by the defenses that the body armor, the egoic construction of defenses, develop while growing in the organism.  Our ego is not a static object like a vase that we fill, or half-fill.  Our ego is a growing organ every bit as important as the ever growing liver, kidney, heart and lungs and brain and so on.  We were born with a burgeoning ego.  It is our task not to kill this ego, not to hide or pretend that it is not there; rather it is our task to master this ego.  If we do not, it will master us.
An Aside
In order to go much further in this essay we have to stop and remind ourselves, again, that as human-being we possess a divided mind.  Both in anatomy and biology as well as in psychoanalysis and physics.  The human being is of two minds.  The earliest of these minds is really the body mind.  It awakens first.  It begins its function in the organism even before birth.  The heart of the fetus, having connected to the brain of the fetus begins to develop a mind.  It is like the trinity, the father, the son and the holy ghost.  The heart and the brain together create the mind which is really a metaphor for the complexities of chemical and physical and hormonal activities that begin to take place in the human being around the time of conception.
The mind is not one thing.  The mind is a complexity of operations that occur through-out the brain/body matrix and never stops functioning. It functions autonomically and in tandem with all the cells of the body.  We are essentially a chemical factory.
Aside over
Back to our story about the ego.  We left it back there with the idea that we must master the ego or it will master us.  It is no coincidence that we are using the term “master” because when it comes to our ego, if left to its own devises, it will master us and in some cases will master us in a manipulative, and even sadistic fashion.
There is a misconception that the ego has a conscience.  It does not.  What the ego has is revenge, rational maneuvers, guilt, fear and a ton of ambivalence, to name a few of its qualities.  When we take the low road and let the ego direct our lives we become at mercy to its myriad of defenses.  We become hurt that a friend forgot us, we become angry that the car next to us at the red light looks menacing, and we become convinced that we are in some competition with this person who we instantly hate because of how he glanced at us with indifference.  The ego is set on the default position to compete, that has been its major function through evolution.  It has been programed to survive as the fittest.  This insures its posterity on our spinning ball of molted ash.
But what if we do not accept the C E O position of the ego.  What if instead of just going along with the rules and regulations of our predictable ego, we were to check in with the other half of the divided mind that has been sitting there pretty much idle — looking more like a bed of moss than anything with force.
It is easy to let the ego have it way with us.  In many ways being the servant to the Lord of the Manor is more defined.  It is an “easier” position than comes with being Lord of the Manor.  I am realizing recently that i would have fit in to post feudal society very well  if I had been a Lord.  “Yes, my Lord, No, my Lord….anything you need My Lord……”  I might have function equally well as a page to a handsome warrior or as the court’s poet laureate.
What I am saying is there is more than one trajectory that can work for us.  There is more than one “pre-chosen love-object” already out there in the universe reading itself to meet us.  What we do with the “dash” between the numbers is pretty much up to how much energy we are willing to invest to making this life look the way we want it to.  And many path are right.  All roads lead to Rome.
Life can throw such chaos our way that we become automatic at pitching it back.  And, life does not have to be automatic.  We do not have to show up to every argument ready to fight.  In our best of conditions we show up at conflict with a genuine desire to study the situation, think about the problem it is causing for us; and then attempting to consult with the bed of moss that lies still just under the surface of the sea of consciousness, we look for a new and improved way of solving the problem.
The ego is our default position, our default perspective, if you will.  The wider instinct that emanate from the heart/body matrix is a quieter, much less intrusive aspect of our mind.  But unlike the ego that will insert itself long before we ask it to, the baser instincts of the heart have to be deliberately invited into consciousness.  That velvety, deep green moss just beneath the surface of consciousness is God.  When we instruct ourselves to go off for a search of this holy-grail, we enter an unchartered void, almost dark with secrets and answers, but so not visible without the excavation that is necessary for the heart-instincts to reveal themselves.
It is easier to be a slave than it is to be a master, there is no question about that.  And to take a vacation from time to time and put ourselves in the hands of a cruise director can be charming, and alluring.  But to live by the paradigm that we are forever being conducted by one slice of perception while ignoring the other is not fun. I would add it is also not safe.
The ego is not alone in wanting to survive.  We have heart felt instincts that are primitive and encrusted through antiquity.  Our instinctual self also wants to survive, but in addition to “simple” survival–existence; the instincts are the source of our drives, our libidinal motivation–the force behind a wish that activates the human capacity to manifest if we are to dove-tail notions from the laws of attraction philosohpy.
Tapping the instincts can not occur simultaneous to tapping the ego.  We must be prepared to separate and to individuate from the ego in order to be able to go deliberately searching for notions that the ego does not essentially concern itself with.  The higher order of feeling and sensation, the location in us that is activated when we are in a state of Grace, a state of Joy or when we are entangled with enthusiasm –this location in the human spirit is called consciousness.
We can tap our consciousness, like we can tap water.  And Like water, the instincts are pure, authentic not enhanced by projections or defenses of any kind.  When we are in the realm of our consciousness that is separate from the ego we feel a safety and a security that we know what we need to know, and that we know what we need to do in order to address the chaos (large, overwhelming feelings or sensations).  There is a peacefulness to the instincts that is not present in the ever anxious ego.
There is a quiet, like a deep in a forest quiet  that slows down the organism to a reasonable hum. The chatter of the linguistic ego telling you what to do, and what you have to do, should do,  and why you have to do it, and how to accomplish it in such a way that you will win………disappears down to a whisper and eventually a hum when we deliberately invite the instincts to consciousness.  The words disappear.  Linguistic conceptualizations disappear and instead we are greeted by clumps of sweet, damp moss–voiceless and even somewhat pretty; but, voiceless!
Entering the quiet can be a daunting experience for those of us Type A’s that have run our lives racing from one gusto to another.  In fact from a distance paradise can appear very boring.  We have all heard people say that singing in heaven with the angels will be boring.  I get that.  But the perspective is off.  Paradise is to our making and it is served to us by ourselves and it can be as elaborate and as glorious as we like it to be; or it can be as simple and as casual as a walk in the woods, or waltzing through our own goals and desires.
The important piece to remember is this:  we must first be quiet before the language of the instincts emerge with a new paradigm, a new perspective.  We can’t shift from wanting an answer from the ego to wanting an answer from the instincts.  We have to shift from wanting an answer to wanting to access the silence.  Only after entering the silence will a new perspective be revealed.
It is still close enough to the beginning of the 2014 to wish all my readers a Very Happy and Effective New Year.

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For a New Beginning, a poem by John O’donohue

For a New Beginning


In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.


For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.


It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.


Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.


Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.


Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.


This is a poem written by a man from Ireland.  From what I understand he was a priest who studied philosophy and was drawn to the mystic, Meister Eckhart.  The man who wrote this poem is:  John O’Doanhue.

Image 7 - Version 2


I like the religious simplicity and I like how this simplicity dovetails nicely with information from the raw materials of the Law Of Attraction.  Of course, I have written in other places that the Law of Attraction dovetails nicely with the laws of the philosophy and science of modern psychoanalysis.  The package is a good beginning for a New Year.


“…where your thoughts never think to wander,” is a great phrase.  It reflects the idea that a thought could have a thought.  This is referred to as a meta-thought.  But we are awkwardly close to the medical model provided by John Sarno in his book, The Divided Mind.


Listening to ourselves think it is not difficult to subjectively assess that we have competing thoughts.  We call these competing thoughts “ambivalence”.  Ambivalence implies a sort of equal pressure to go this way and to got that way at the same time.  No one can for get the scare-crow who when asked directions by Dorothy picks up his straw filled arms and points them in opposite directions…he felt so ambivalent that he did not think that he had a brain.

Another great line is, “…waiting until you are ready to emerge”.  We are aware that desire and manifestation are nearly equivalent concepts, as one leads rather naturally from one to the other.  The act of wanting something activates in us an urge forward that begins to propel us in the direction of the person, place or thing that we are wanting.  He ends the poem with the very essence of human capability, “For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”  Again, we are able to approach this line from a number of perspectives.  Psychoanalytically the soul might be the unconscious aspect of being human—the emotional autonomic system, if you will.  It might also refer to the soul as that aspect of humankind that contains the ethics that have evolved from the beginning.  The Commandments’ of God made manifest so that human kind might live in societies and civilizations with the least amount of self-imposed destruction.


Finally, in Law of Attraction parlance, we hear the phrase, “to allow,” as meaning in addition to desire we must be prepared to let-in, to allow the manifestation to take place.  Wanting something as an empty wish is not at all like desiring in a way that will make the object much more likely to appear.


Empty wishes are probably the worst case scenario for we humans attempting to get something for ourselves from the universe.  An empty wish sounds more like a complaint than a desire…”gee, I wish I could do that……..”

A desire has aggression attached it.  I want one of those and I am going to find a way to get it.  I want more love in my life and I am going to find a way to apply more actions of love to the people, places and things in my life.


Desire is strong.  It is the first drive, libido, infused with the second drive, aggression.  The fusion of what we want and a motivation to get it creates in us an allowance for the thing to happen.


Practice this on something small that you want to acquire.  Practice this activated motivation over a particular food you may want to have.  “I have not had apple pie in ages, I want a piece of apple pie.”  Not, “I never get apple pie, everybody is always out of it when I want some.”


Can you hear the distinction, one is ready to search, the later is defeated before it starts.  So, let the unconscious through, allow yourself to let yourself know what you want and allow yourself to go for it, finally, prayer is a wonderful, soft and entirely inexpensive way of connecting to the Great Universal principles….don’t be afraid to pray.  It will not make you less of a man or less of a woman to allow yourself to connect with the soul of the matter—the solemnity of the great mysteries on the universe, all that we do not know.

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From:       A L Dussault
RE:          Schedule for Winter 2014
Both Mark and Steve have agree to help maintain the Tuesday Night Group
while I am in St. Augustine.  It will function as usual at the usual time {6:30 – 8:00 on Tuesday evenings}.
Please reply to this e mail if you are attending.  and PLEASE, reply to this e mail
if you are N O T attending.  It will make things so much easier if we have a count in advance.
In relation to Individual analytic and therapy session, I will be working on a similar schedule
as when I am up north.  Write to me by responding to this e mail to set up an individual session
by phone.
Also,  if you have not paid for December services.  I would like to hear from you
so we can set up a payment plan…I want to collect all out-standing accounts within
the next few weeks……thank for that as well….
Any questions, Please write,
Dr. A. L. Dussault
dr. al dussault
mindfulness in psychoanalysis


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Dual Drive Theory: a practical application

Below is a link to a recent study that begins to confirm the dual aspect of the human reality.  Good/Bad, Hot/Cold, Blue/Red, the duality of our experience is a subjective experience that is confirmed by sciences that study the subjective…
If the heart and the body are the subjective, then the mind and the ego are the imperative.
Western Civilization has been obsessed with the study of the imperative — wars, conflict, human to human suffering and injustices, these are the imperatives.  The subjective is the feeling a grandparent has when he or she first holds yet another generation in its arms.  It is characterized by hope where the ego is characterized by fear.
The ego evolves keeping pace with survival of the fittest, the heart and the instincts are a portrait of an alligator gently carrying a delicate egg in its mouth as it maneuvers toward a safe spot to lie the egg and wait for the next generation to crack out of its shell.
Even an alligator is a two thing–thing.  It has the capacity to nurture and the capacity devour with rage. The dual drives are the center-piece of psychoanalysis.
a new study suggests that we all have the same bodily sensations associated with our feelings regardless of culture or language — because the mind-body connection is biological, and is linked to our very drive for survival.o-BODY-EMOTIONS-900
It hardly ever ceases to amaze me, the human condition is both ever evolving and static at the same time.  We can only appreciate the complexity of human dynamics when we experience the dual nature of our natures.  The divided mind is a fact of life.  The complexity of the conflict is exacerbated by not recognizing that we are getting two commands at the same time, neither of which is aware that the other is giving a dramatically different solution to the presented conflict.
At a point in time when we are left with two distinct internal voices we often choose to crawl under a blanket and see no light, as if by not seeing light we can stop those voices from overwhelming us.  The voice of the ego, the voice of right and wrong has the fullest presence in our minds.  I like to say that it speaks english, it speaks loudest and it speaks first.
With that dynamic operating the voice of the instinct the subjective tense, if you will, brings us to a less chaotic place.  But it does not appear to have strength behind it.  The voice of the ego is very strong, the imperative tense,  but it sounds like a voice of authority, in fact, often the voice of a punishing authority.
Fearing the consequences of not listening to the ego we can choose to end the ambivalence by simply ignoring the voice of the heart, the body–where the sounds are more sensation than they are linguistic utterances.  The voice of the instinct/heart/body are felt wishes from internal sensations….that come from ancestral knowledge–D N A knowledge.  It might sound like….”Oh…I don’t know if I like that idea…..but what other choice do I have?” This voice is not going to badger us.  It simply says its piece, it tells us something quietly, mindfully.  The heart has no defense to make.  It presents its truth and rests its case.
The heart felt voice is an instinct that a different response is needed than the one we have been use to relying on.  Since our ego has been so tolerant of us and has taught us to walk and talk, and drive a car and get an education and make a living, we had better use it as the default position.  So, we set the ego on default and consequently barely ever hear the sensations speak.
I seem to always return to the same point.  That is because when we come full circle, we do return to the same point.  The ego badgers us with its information and tries to scare us into some dramatic action–let’s have a family intervention, that will wake up the absentee member.  The heart simply lies around inside waiting to be asked for an opinion and when it is asked for an opinion it always gives a simple answer…like, “Yes there is a tremendous amount of drama going on at the moment, but doing nothing is what you need to do for yourself.
When ever we feel an urgent need to act, it is a message from the body/instinct/heart–“Listen to what the urgency is doing to you…do not do what the urgency is telling you to do, the urgency is simply an alert, not a call to action.
Urgency is a sensation that alerts us to we being in a negative position with the world and with ourselves.  Like its partner in crime, “anxiety” urgency is more of a dramatic STOP sign than it is a call to action.
Let the urgency guide you toward a quick meditative 20 seconds of centering.  Forget what it is telling you to do, and instead go listen to its meaning.  It means–stop, look both ways, use caution, proceed slowly!!!!!!!!!!
dr. al dussault
mindfulness in psychoanalysis

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The Compulsion to Repeat vs. Compassion

It is more comfortable to repeat a past performance than it is to construct a new paradigm.  The Compulsion to repeat is a powerful defense and as we know of defenses, they act in service of the ego.  Acting in service of the ego means that they are trying to be helpful to a part of us.  The part of us that has grown and become civilized and has evolved through the ages to become the man who goes to the moon, or the Iron Woman who rules England, or to the creators of the Atom Bomb.  The linguistic aspect of us is the ego.  The ego is that aspect of us that we are most familiar with.  It is what Eckhart Tolle says that we refer to when we call ourselves by our first name.  My ego’s is name Al,  pronounced with no “H” unlike in “Hal,” The computer who operated the guts of the mission to outer-space. In service to its mission, Hal killed the entire crew for its own good–not what the creator had in mind.


The ego and the Heart can become in conflict, especially if the ego feels threatened by an event, by the future or by it losing advantage in any way.  The ego wants the advantage–always.  It is a competitive little snot if you do not grab a hold of it early enough.  It will kill you to prove it is right in the name of trying to help you.

So who is the “you” and who is the “you”?  When we finally arrive at the nearly indisputable fact that what sits on our shoulders is a very divided mind, we can begin to want to make sense over the amount of conflict that we have lived under.  Until then we usually side with our egos, and though it might operate the conflict in our favor, in the moment; we are hardly ever spiritually and dynamically advanced by the egos maneuvers.

It is also of importance that we recognize that each the ego and the heart are unaware of the others presence.  Each system operates singularly.  But the dominant force is exerted by the ego (what western civilization tells us is right or wrong).  The heart, on the other hand, arrived first in the order of evolution, but its quiet and steady path is hardly noticed.  It wants what is best for us which may not be what is right or wrong for us.  This slight shift in perspective can lead us to an overwhelming shift in paradigm.  A shift that can help us to change, not our behavior; but how we perceive the world.  Often the problem is not with the “problem”, but with how we see the problem.      

     Insights provided by the heart, those emotional communications that cry out to be heard over the voice of the ego, are guided by the subjective mood rather than the indicative mood.  Grammar does have a role in who we are and how we behave.  There are languages that do not have a subjective tense.  In those languages the “if’s, the “could have” the “might have” are not existing.  Only the indicative fact of yes or no or black and white exist in consciousness.   People who live simply out of language awareness miss an entire perspective.  The wider perspective of consciousness is omitted.  The silence of consciousness.

In the indicative system ambiguity is omitted.  Nonetheless, because it is omitted, in perspective, does not mean that it does not exist in reality.  A full repertoire of feelings from despair to over-whelming enthusiasm and joy are necessary components to living a full life.  Within the wide range of the subjective we hold all the possibilities of being human in our hearts.  We are not swallowed by anger, but we know anger intimately.  We are not depreciated by grief, we are enhanced buy the knowledge that it is demonstrating the extent to which we loved the precious object, person, place or thing.  Jealousies and hatreds are not foreign to a good-heart.  They do not conduct a good-heart.

Hearts can be over-come with compassion.  Egos need to be right.  The heart can contain the darker side of life as easily as it can embrace the light.  Compassion is a mindful process by which we come to understand our need for human forgiveness.  The act of forgiving the self for its natural condition of imperfection.  And forgiving other for the very same reason.  The awake mind resonates in possibilities.  The closed off mind, the egoic mind, cowers in fear of ambivalence and dodges interpretations that places the ego in less than attractive light.


Understanding that we are of two minds, how do we access the instincts, how do we find the heart within the clamor of all the linguistic noise?  This is a question for our generation to answer.  We need a new answer because secular society has become disconnected from the good, the bad and the ugly.  Although religion plays a large role in some people’s lives, the overall globe is not a religious one.  This is a globe in much conflict:  plague, hunger, famine, homelessness, war, atrocities, vengeance, and greed to name a few.  And although we are not the first generation to have to answer this question, after all, Adam and Eve seemed to have gotten it wrong and it has been down-hill ever since, each new generation gets a shot at the question.  “Is it nobler in the mind to suffer the slings of outrageous fortune….”

Today we may be better poised to ask the question in a new way.  How do I access my heart-felt emotions–good and bad, and how do I harness these emotions into a kind of fuel, a psychic energy that drives us forward with integrity and fullness of spirit.  It is so easy to claim that we have it all until we lose it all.

There are two evolutions happening simultaneously:  1)  the evolution of culture and civilization through our linguistic competence, and 2) the evolution and development of the individual human ego.  Both evolutions reflect each other and are inextricably tied together, but no one knows exactly how.  We are pointing to a Oneness that might help us to understand that we are really one huge organism.  We are the cosmos, we and the plants and the minerals and the elements we are one thing evolving toward infinity.

Are we always only a half truth waiting for the other half of our reality to sink in?  Do we exist among the weeds and are we only several layers away from the alligator brain that sits in the center of our heads.  I think it would be easy to go in that direction.  It’s all a lot of nothing made from nothing.  Except, what do we do with compassion.  How do we understand empathy if it is truly only about survival.

The instincts of the heart never come after us.  We are never chased by the heart the way we are chased by the ego, by the guilt, by the remorse, by the past.  The heart only lies quietly beating.  It is vigilant, patient, kind, honest and in general, good.  But for us to see these attributes we must have the capacity to invite it in.  Unlike the intrusive ego, the heart has to be invited in.  The heart will lie in waiting and will be available as soon as you summon it to your aid, but you must summon it.

You have to be ready to listen to something that your ego will disagree with.  You need to be ready to look out into the vast void of consciousness in order to sense the quiet and the silence that is needed to understand the heart felt messages from our own subjective.

And in the long run, we will die anyway.  That is the cycle of life that we embark upon when we are born.  We are slated to die at some point.  In the meantime we can let our lives be run by Hal, or we can reach into our silence and pull out a hand-full of compassion and say, “here is to one more day where I like life, and I like liking who I am.”