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Psychoanalysis: breath & balance

This is important stuff.

Maybe, as important as anything can be moving us toward self guided health care, and ever evolving toward emotional maturity. The mental gymnastics that the ego or conscious mind puts us through is counter-stabilized  with breath and balance.

The instincts do not remain in the shadow of the object when the body is consulted for sensations. But that really only works from the position of stillness. Getting to still point with mantra and breath is a fundamental aspect of getting to health. Of course, life also happens between sessions of any practice. It is the balance we learn before hand that steadies us in a moment of body-pain. Sometime our own body pain, or even the body pain of others we live with can activate the lack of balance (mental, emotional & physical).

The return of the repressed and the return of the repetition compulsion activates and ignites fear which then takes our breath out of balance and everything feels wrong.

With the crown of your head high, your shoulders relaxed and a deep breath filling all of your lungs, slowly let out more breath than you took in. Breath like you are conducting the figure 8.

 

Why?  Because a well analyzed life includes a connection with the body-unconscious where our ancestry, experiences and memories are stored like in a freezer until some heat, some return of the repressed ignites the muscles, cells, bones of sensation and demands of us that we pay attention.  The needle on the gage reads low energy.  Going too much further without replenishing and we risk running out of gas only half way to our destination.

 

Below is an example of a meditation–it is constructed of non-mentated gestures and lines that I filled in with color and mood.  Well-being is a state of no effort because it takes as its starting point a moment of stillness. Therefore,  a better chance of leading to clarity than if we attempt to move through chaos….contour-and-gesture-1

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Group as a Community Garden

If you have a supportive sangha, it’s easy to nourish your bodhicitta, the seeds of enlightenment. If you don’t have anyone who understands you, who encourages you in the practice of the living dharma, your desire to practice may wither. Your sangha—family, friends, and copractitioners—is the soil, and you are the seed. No matter how vigorous the seed is, if the soil does not provide nourishment, your seed will die. A good sangha is crucial for the practice. Please find a good sangha or help create one.
From Cultivating the Mind of Love, © 2008 by Thich Nhat Hanh.
complete article at http://www.tricycle.com/insights/fertile-soil-sangha

a garden

Community is a necessary stage in the progress of self actualization. To be actualized is much like being well-analyzed, the process allows us to move toward our selves in a more open and intimate manner. The Sangha or the group is a family of supporters that we can rely on. In the case of the group it is a replacement for a family that is either not available or non-existing.

Like the sentence above suggests, we can’t do it alone and find the kind of environment that feeds us when we are in our lower-most positions. Group and community remind us, when our mind wanders into a dark place, that there are others among us who know all to well the dark place and from their experience they help guide us back toward the light.

I appreciate the word cultivation and the metaphor of the garden because it is grounded in the material of life.

Life is messy. Life can induce chaos. Life is a divided experience in which we think and feel with different aspects of our mind/body matrix. Knowing both sides of the equation is necessary for a balanced algebra.

Groups assist with encouraging balance and encouraging health as the place from which we make our individual decisions.

 

 


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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.
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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!!!!!!!!!!
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dr. al dussault
aldussault@gmail.com
mindfulness in psychoanalysis


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Libido: the psychoanalytic law of attraction

 erotic dance
Libido–in short, it is a type of energy associated with both the mental and the biological drives.  It is one of the two drives
upon which psychoanalysis was founded and continues to this day, as the foundational mechanisms that are responsible
for piloting sentient beings forward.  It operates in tandem with the aggressive drive also known as the death drive.
Life is busy holding itself up until it can no longer hold it self up and the decompensation process sets in.  In biology and
physics the terms anabolism and catabolism are the words that most reflect what Freud and subsequent drive theorists had in mind
when proposing the dual drive theory.
For our purposes in this essay my concentration will be on the libidinal drive.  Not only was it the first drive to be identified
by Freud, but it is essentially the kernel of his thinking that led to his seminal work, “Beyond the Pleasure Principle”.  In beyond
the pleasure principle, Freud maps out the metaphor of the mind that we all recognize, the ego, the id and the super-ego.
In many ways we are seeing neurobiology catch up with what Freud induced from his observations of his early patients.  He had
earlier, in his writings said:  we will have to content ourselves with these subjective findings until chemistry gives us a more definitive
answer.
O.K. enough of the back ground….libido is the central concept on which psychoanalysis applies its concepts in research, philosophy
and clinical work.
Libido is desire.
Desire is also a foundational concept in new age philosophies. The most recognized of these theories is The Law of Attraction.  In the Law of Attraction
we are told that allowing ourselves to want what we want guides us to that wish.  It says, or implies, that there is a kind of personality
to “The Universe”.  This Universe is said to listen to our desires if we are sincere and we have the capacity to stay focused on what we want.
This is both similar and different from the analytic view of libido.  It is similar in as much as it requires the desire to be the focus
of the mind field; but it is different in as much as analysis does not claim that there is a Universe listening.  Instead psychoanalysis
is a theory of the mind that is and remains contained in the mind.  When we emotionally “cathex” with an object of desire, it is the
representation of that object of desire in the mind that is the object or the aim of the mental energy.  By infusing desire onto something
that is “Other” than us, we begin a process of aiming for that object.  Depending on the strength of the cathexis, another words on the
importance of the object, we begin a process by which we come to obtain the desired object.
To an alligator it might be the the lazy brown fox crouched among ferns, to a modern human it might be a new granite countertop.  We
want, we aim, and we go for it.
A cathexis is not to be confused with the other Freudian concept “catharsis.”  A catharsis is an expelling of energy that had been attached
to an idea or an emotion.  The catharsis happens when the object is no longer infused with emotional content.  We could almost use the word “relief”
as a substitute for catharsis.  An important insight that changes how we perceive something can be said to be a catharsis.  For example, a year after
a loved one has died, one can reasonably presume that the death of that person will not be as occupying or as charged a thought as it was when
the death first occurred.   Catharsis has to do with the amount or quality of affect that was released. Cathexis has to to with the amount of mental
and emotional energy that was infused into the event.
There is speculation about what Freud meant.  In fact when Freud could use a common word rather than a scientific term to describe
something he was witnessing he generally would use that word.  When we want something our mind is usually occupied or charged
with that desire.  Some Freud scholars seem to think that the word occupy or charge would have been closer to the idea he was conveying.
One of the things that has seriously changed in the last one-hundred years has to do with psychotherapies becoming less invested in the
disease model of neurosis, and instead has become occupied with a wellness model.  That is, most people today see a therapist with the
idea that some thinking need to be adjusted or some emotions need to be examined and understood.  At the time that Freud was writing
neurosis was seen as a mental disease that needed amelioration rather than remediation.
Nonetheless, Freud’s writings at the turn of the 20th century were seminal in the manner in which they came about.  Freud never said
do psychoanalysis like this.  Freud said that every psychoanalysis was unique in as much as the discoveries made by the patient and the doctor
were unique to that patient in that setting.  What was being looked at–the patient, was as likely to be seen from as many perspectives as
their were doctors doing the examining.  Each psychoanalysis was a new research project undertaken with a fresh new look because
no two individuals presented their problems with the same amount of emotional cathexis.  Single case study rather than statistical studies
remains the underpinning of modern psychoanalytic research.
It does not follow that if your house burned down when you were a child that therefore you would develop a “my-house-burned-down” syndrome.
Each child brought their own emotional charge or content to the event.  For one child a scaring trauma might happen and for another
it might not even register as an important event.
Central to Freudian thinking and central to The Law of Attraction is this concept of emotional cathexis.  This process of desiring is the
process of becoming invested in a particular outcome that we are wanting to attract.  It is not so far removed from [John 15:7],
“ask what ye will and it shall be done”.  We are looking at a convergence, a convergence of thought from more than one perspective pointing
to the same outcome.
When we pray, when we infuse libido or when we allow the universe to give us what we need we are following some kind of prescription
for truth.  We might hear this concept in a more Americanized way, “you have to work hard to be successful,” or in mindful way, “breath,
listen to your inner breath, breath with your heart.”  There are a multitude of methods and “secrets” and miracles that might get us
to this desired outcome.
In the end we are looking western civilization in the face and going against the grain of social civility.  Because regardless of what
method, secret or theory is employed you will need to selfishly put yourself in the number one position in order to accomplish getting
what you want.  Libido will have to infuse your wishes so that they can be aggressively pursued.  But for those of you reading who are
saying, “but selfishness is a bad thing, isn’t it?”  I want to say, “No, It is not a bad thing.”  The art and science of a a successful life
begins with the centrality of your own soul, your own self.  There, in the inner-sanctum, in the temple that is the manifestation that
is your mind, is where you will find the capacity to have the strength to place yourself in the number one position.  And you will
be able to do this because when you there in the depth of your inner world you are in the presence of truth and wisdom and knowledge–your own..
From that humanistically special place, you want what is best for you and you have no competition with the fact that your
neighbor wants what is best for himself/herself.  To Place oneself in the primary position only means that you are placing
your energy into your own vitality.  What we manifest from our own vitalities is always for the greater good.  Creativity is not an
act of aggression on someone else’s person.
In conclusion libido that perverted, sexually oriented concept is the seed of our humanity.  It is the drive that elevates pleasure and
comfort as a welcomed and desired state of being.  The wildness and primitive nature of our sexual urges are the first genuine sensations
that move us forward.  Like in the manner that a newborn infant placed on its mothers belly will navigate its mouth toward the breast,
the new born awakening that desire is nature’s way of guiding us to vitality, will navigate our wishes into manifested realities.  This
is the psychoanalytic law of attraction.