Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bringing Psychic Back

Coping with Neurosis in Body and Soul

Have you ever thought of someone seconds before they called you?  We beings are constantly in relationship.  Even when we are alone with hurt, our hurt connects us to people we've known.  Our insecurities and anxieties derive from being disappointed by loved ones.  Our ideals and our fierce defense of them could be considered veiled loyalties to real people.  We are social creatures, but we have created a disconnected world.   We make and destroy connections in minutes, and we are left alone with our repetitive thoughts, our neurosis.  We are constantly conversing, but only with ourself.  How can we find peace in this moment with so many undelivered thoughts?

Soulful communication
What if we could speak the truth to anyone at anytime, instantaneously?  We could share our thought directly with the person it concerns, rather than it just rattling around in our mind.  Technology has nearly made this fantasy real.  There are still some limits, though.  Our counterpart might be in a meeting, not want to talk, not be a human, or have passed off the face of the earth.  Even when we reach them, we might censor ourselves because we think it's too late, we fear what they will say, or we are ashamed of what we feel.

What if we could talk instead to a person's transcendent soul?  Bear with me atheists and uber-rationalists, I will make it up to you later.  A soul has some important upgrades on the actual person.  Chief amongst them - it's infinite.  A soul has infinite patience, longevity, compassion, and wisdom.  Pretty sweet, huh?  So instead of talking to that annoying brat about our beef, we can talk to yoda.

Distributed mind
Have you ever told the same story in three different ways to three different people?  I do it all the time, quite accidentally.  Different memories and perspectives arise depending on who I'm talking to.  Different feelings are surfaced.  Telling stories helps me learn more about what happened, and brain research suggests verbalizing eases emotional distress.  Sometimes I feel as if my mind itself is distributed amongst the hundreds of people I interact with.  Depending on what situation I find myself in, I might crave a particular kind of advice, or sharing at a particular level of emotion, physicality, technology, or nostalgia.  Our connections with different people parallel the complexity of our own mind.

When you find an infinitely patient ear like the soul, you can express yourself fully, betraying yourself.  You can say it with as much fear or hate as you have, soul will respond with equanimity.  And in verbalizing and accepting your deepest, darkest thoughts, you will begin, or even finish, healing.  Don't be surprised if you experience tangible relief in your next real-life meeting.

Soul response
Then one day your neurotic energy might be expended. You'll slow down, and you might hear the soul respond.  From a soul's infinite wisdom, the first words you hear might be "I understand" or "I love you too."   Maybe the anxiety this person has triggered in you can be righted by his or her soul.  Or after her soul hears your heartfelt apology, maybe you can forgive yourself.

When you can face the unresolved hurt this person represents, you will relax in your psychic meditation.  You may hear even greater wisdom coming back.  Things like, "I forgive you."  Or "I appreciate you, but I can't express it now."  Or even "I'm sorry for what happened."  Soul has infinite resources which giving does not diminish.  Infinity can give you all you need, as you need it.

Psychologically speaking
If you try this experiment, your rational mind's worst fear will be that you are talking to yourself.  That this is just a bunch of hippie hocus-pocus.  So what?  Maybe this would be a welcome change from the repetitive, boring way you normally talk to yourself.  Maybe there is an underlying rationale.

Ever had a dream about someone you haven't seen in years?  Somehow your mind's depiction of them is accurate down to their body language, accent, and reactions.  And when you have a therapeutic dream, don't you bring your dream realization to your real day?  Besides, some people you may never see again.  Psychotherapists often ask clients to write letters to these people to access thoughts only available in conversation. And forgiveness can be a one-sided impasse you can resolve entirely in your own mind.

And why is it you give great advice to everyone but yourself?  Perhaps it's because you are too cloistered in the subjective confines of your own thinking.  Maybe you need a way to get a little distance from yourself.  A concrete way to import another person's perspective directly into your conscious, not an intellectualized version of what they are.  Imagining that you are actually talking to them, you will achieve a higher fidelity compassion for who they are and how they think.

Psychic conversations will help you back off from the neurotic cliffs of dating, the unresolved guilt you have towards your parent or baby, the disappointment of a friend letting you down.  A psychic conversation is also great preparation for an actual conversation, should it be appropriate.  The psychic conversation can help you jettison cynicism so you can remember the highest aspiration for your relationship.

Finding, expressing, and accepting your feeling for others is liquid wisdom, something to practice in the present:
"If your everyday practice is to open to your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that -- then that will take you as far as you can go.  And then you'll understand all the teaching that anyone has every taught." -- Pema Chödrön

Spiritually speaking
So is this soul we are talking to a fabrication of our mind, a real thing associated with body, or a consciousness connecting us all?

Freud might locate the soul in our neurosis and the depths of our own personal unconscious.  If that's the case, you are talking to yourself, not a transcendent soul.  You can default to the purely psychological interpretation above, which might still be useful.

On the other hand, many religions tie individual souls to the body.  In Abhrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) and Greece, a soul is derived from God's breath in our body.  Kabbalists subdivide the soul into parts relating to emotion, instinct, and God-connection.  Catholics explain soul as "that by which they are most especially in God's image," Muslims a "command from God," Mormons a "portion of God's spirit."  The Hindu Dvaita school and certain Buddhist sects conceptualize an individual's soul (Ātman) as the true self that exists beyond identification with the world, carrying karma across reincarnations.  Reach out to the soul of these religions and you will talk with the divine part of human.

On the other other hand, a human soul might be a single consciousness associated with humanity, universe, or nature.  Jung's collective unconscious is a world of shared symbols that has been interpreted as connecting all of humanity across time.  The Hindu Advaita school holds no difference between the infinite God and an individual's soul, implying all sentient beings are joined soulfully by a single cosmic consciousnessTaoism focuses on an individual's harmony with nature, claiming that every person is a microcosm of the universe.  Appeal to the soul of these philosophies and you will find a universal wisdom to help you transcend the illusions of our busy mind.

Talking about your hurt with a transcendent soul, you will find the commonality in our human condition.  Peace with a given person will blossom into a general peace within yourself and the world.  Your connection will help bring the world back together again.


Jay-9 said...

Love this concept of speaking with the transcendent soul. Feel it relates to the communion with a physically removed but spiritually present Beloved in Man's Search for Meaning, which is so sustaining.

eudae said...

Thanks @Jay! Will check out Frankl's book at some point - it looks very interesting.

eudae said...

Just read Man's Search for Meaning, thanks Jay. Really nice opus, I do love the part of him thinking of his wife, and it not mattering if she was alive or not. I'm still considering the part about "will to meaning" itself, which is akin but different to always dying: