One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. – C.G. Jung
I was always attracted to the study of psychology and psychoanalysis, from an early age. In my recovery, I accepted that I was studying in an attempt to understand my family dynamic so I might A) fix them or, later B) fix myself. The truth is you can’t think your way out of some “problems”. The recovery saying is, “You can’t think your way to better living, you gotta live your way to better thinking”.
The long and short of all the study is I don’t fix anything. That does not mean we don’t want change. Change is good, so this might sound confusing. Words sometimes fail as the imperfect vessels that they are. One way to put it is; in early recovery I felt that some part of me was broken and just needed to be cut out, like surgery and then I’d be ok. My studies of body/energy work and healing (Polarity, Craniosacral, Radix, Bioenergetics, and Somatic Experience) led me to the understanding that it’s the opposite. It’s about embracing and integrating “in”, that we heal, not “cutting out”. Trauma affects the whole body but rests in the nervous system and healing rests in the Heart field. Nothing happens in a vacuum, everything is part of a whole which is a way of saying there’s a reason for everything, therefore everything contains a blessing and as I embrace the heart receives the blessing.
However imperfect these words, what we are describing is what actually happens in a healing process.
Another way to look at it is, as a kid I had injuries & cuts that meant stitches and I did (secretly) think of my scars as cool. I would never consider…plastic surgery to remove them. It’s the same with the psychic scars of childhood and life. They are a part of me and make up the whole(er) picture. We don’t want to remove them we want to embrace them. That has proven very true for me as far as my addiction disorder. I am glad I am an addict. Sounds odd yet many in long-term recovery will nod their head in agreement at this statement.
Another truth of this process: the hard part that trips us up, especially men, is grief. The stickler in this multi-stage process is the grieving process. We have been trained, for centuries, to armor up and not feel the full range of our emotional body. That’s the hard part that keeps so many suffering out there from coming in to recovery and healing.
It’s a stage of the process of healing that is logical and yet heart wrenching. Logical in that when we change an older part of us dies and we need to say goodbye. In nature, the snake is in tune with the rhythms of life and naturally molts its old skin growing into its new one. So many of us guys are tuff-enough, and won’t embrace the change which actually increases the pain and holds us back, stuck like cement. Grief is a natural part of life. I’m not just talking about big events like the death of a family member, I’m saying letting go is a part of life. Life and death are one and the same in the circle of life and we are raised in a culture that does not respect or honor that nearly enough to meet our true human needs. So we are not taught to grieve, how to grieve, what rituals will soften that and facilitate that and make it easier.
As to psychology, a couple of ideas the psychoanalysts gave us was; in our tabula rasa state what happens in childhood can imprint and scar (or esteem) us, retaining the memories in our sub and un-conscious brain. And this, the unconscious brain, is where our unconscious belief structure, our paradigms, then originate. The spiritual path is about uncovering those thoughts and beliefs that we have attached to, beginning a process that frees us from the unconscious influence. Then choice enters the picture. Put another way, it is in my best interest, and the collective best interest, if I know why I think and act the way I do. Then I deepen my relationship to Free Will.
You understand, Madison Avenue, essentially think-tanks and massive corporations, work hard to uncover just this sort of information to increase their effectiveness in manipulating our behavior to their liking. Including in the realm of politics. The next Presidential election will spend-they predict-one billion dollars to do just that.
And since we are going there, that billion, mostly donated from aforementioned corporations, are not donating that as charity and service work. They are, for all practical purposes, loans. And they expect to be paid back, with interest! As we head to the polls, I’m just sayin’….