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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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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.”


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Art as Therapy, or Therapy as Art


Time swirls around us so fast we can hardly believe we stand on a globe that has been on an elliptical pathway for millions of years–a swirling ball of molted gas with a burning interior spinning forever in the darkness of the universe.

The fascinating thing that I find about my craft is the ability that that craft has to set up in me a feeling of competence, compassion, self-acceptance and a non-biased, not judgmental view of the world.  When I sit with my Apple to compose or when I sit with my pen & ink passion, or when I sit with watercolors and acrylics, I experience a rejuvenation of my mental status.

The sub-conscious activities with arts and crafts are similar activities to sitting with an analytic patient.  My mind, my ego is activated and I am in-touch with a silent desire to be present and to let what ever feelings and intuitions that arise come forward and enjoy the light of day.

I know the similarities exist between psychoanalysis and art, but recently I am impressed to hear of more neuro-biologist who are coming on board with sketches of mapped out events taking place in the brain that suggest what we have intuitively known for centuries to be true–intuition feels good and is rarely wrong.

I recently met a person on line who was developing a system of tracking intuition using science, not poetry to display his results.  In the land of poetry and art, our hearts know when we have been emotionally touched.  Our body responds to “Maria’s Cello” as if they were spoken directly to the soul.  A soft, commanding piano piece will send us into a reverie that is comforting, evoking memories that are both loving and sad at the same time.

There is a simplicity to the belief that both art and therapy provide soft cushions on which to rest our ruminative heads.  Making the time to rest our minds from the mechanical pace that they can have is a necessity to health, happiness and success.  We are unable to access the intuitive aspects of our body/brain matrix unless we command ourselves to stop, look and listen.

“Why should I stop and look both ways–there in nothing coming down the track.  It is a waste of time to stop.”  Yes, i agree you just wasted 30 seconds of your life by looking both ways and seeing nothing—but do not think that you can extrapolate from that there there never will be a train rolling down that track.

Stoping and calming the mind of all activity for as little as twenty seconds can be a life saving habit.  Not because a calm happy life guarantees eternal rest, but because momentary rest stops provide relief.

Take several breaths in and release these breaths slowly, eventually letting out verbal sighs as you expel the air.  You have nothing to lose but several seconds if you do not find this a useful manner of allowing the wider consciousness of the mind to set in and provide a moment of clarity.

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…of thee I sing…..a non-partisan moment

…..of the i sing

46 million people are on food stamps.

14 million are unemployed, and millions more are under-employed.

2.9 million homeowners in 2010. were drawn into foreclosure.

48 million Americans live in poverty – almost 10 million more than before the recession hit.

Once upon a time, America was a wilderness.  It was home to man and beast.  It was the most precious, the most open and the most beautiful continent in the world.  Then in the late 17th century the europeans began to flock like geese to the new promised land.  From sea to shining sea evolved into a culture of the working class.  Nothing prevented the early americans from setting up and building communities and homes that were free from the monarchies of western europe.

Most of us know the story.  It is the story of the American Dream, a location in the universe where a shining city on the hill brought possibilities and promises; resources were plentiful and justice for all was the new call of the wild.  No one said that it was going to be easy. There was famine and pestilence and broken relationships with the Native American people.  There was to be war with England and France and the Mexicans and the Spanish.  There was to be war among ourselves in the Civil War where the ideology of equality would eventually be extended to the negro, and eventually to women.

Most recently the destructive power of mankind would be seen not only in the Great World Wars, but in how the war ended…millions of charred bodies would suffer under atomic explosions.  That moment called the worlds attention onto the era of the deluxe american life–cars in the drive way, children, well dressed and in school, mothers carrying a message of virtue and ethics into the families.  An idyllic memory, if not for all for most of america, captured the attention of the world.  New York was the capital of the world in fashion and commerce and industry. Chicago the white city, Hollywood, the film capital of the world, Miami, the playground for the rich and famous to get away from the cold winters of the northeast.

Throughout America more and more people were settling into an American Dream.  Eisenhower finished the interstate roadways that Harry Truman had begun in Kansas and Independence, Missouri a full century before as the first commissioner to be charged with paving the trails that were born out of the American migration west.

My God, we even made it to the moon…..Kennedy, Kennedy & Kennedy along with Martin Luther and the Great Society were to push forward the agenda of an America where more and more people could begin to grow and cultivate a life of moderation.  Back yards, picket fences, mowed lawns, garages and grilling along with vacationing and the automobile, the mountains and the sea shore and the national parks of America all converged to give us the illusion that we were a civilized nation that had arrived at all that it had at the hands of hard work, Thomas Edison, the Slater Cotton Mill, General Electric and Westinghouse–to name only a few.

America was cultivating and manufacturing itself into a greatness never before seen on earth.  We were harnessing nature; and with the good intentions of the hard working men and women of america we became the envy of the world and the most important player on the international stage of world politics.  The end of the twentieth-century arrived with hardly a glitch–not even a hint of the Y2K crisis predicted by the eccentric few who warned of an apocalyptic digital catastrophe.

We had been around for some 350 years and never were our shores touched by a foreign mercenary.  America remained some kind of a pristine label.  Whatever was wrong in the underbelly of the nation had not yet been exposed.  The second millennium saw stocks rising, share holders happy, investors buying homes and inventors creating ever new digital toys for the Great Generation to amuse itself with.  We were each in our own way computing ourselves to becoming the greatest consumer nation on earth.  We ate more fuel and emitted more carbon than all other nations put together.  We were the fattest people on earth and there was pride in our gluttony.  We delighted in being the envy of the world–anger and lust powered our economy that was ever being greased by greed.

Here we were at the threshold of time careening along in our jets and carriages, content as hogs in mud, proclaiming in God we trust while living out the most deliberate and flagrant lives on a stage cast with the seven most deadly sins known to the universe.

Then came the call we never expected–the twin icons of western greed, the granite and steel structures that represented the Fountain Head of mighty and tall were crushed to piles of fallen rubble and sadness by a solitary man on camel back seeking revenge for every crusade ever launched in the name of God………

The world as we knew it began to change–the ship of state would begin its onslaught while ever so slowly turning and turning until it began to head straight into the headwinds that had blown it forward.  We were in reverse, returning to the oligarchies from whence we came.  Now the governing powers of wealth once again took the reigns of government and hitched them up to the corporate paradigm.

We will be rebuilding america on the backs of the poor and the working class.  New pyramids will be erected in praise of the Guards of homeland security that allegedly protect up from harm.

The new currency will read–In Guard We Trust!