Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Only a raging sort of preciousness

It was Freud, in a letter to Carl Jung, who said: “psychoanalysis in essence is a cure through love.” It hurts so much when those around us are suffering, but what can we do? How can we help? What is the most effective way to relieve their sadness, their anxiety, their grief, and their fear? We hear that to truly love another is the most powerful form of healing—but what does this actually mean?

From one perspective, we can sense a primordial longing in us to be fully met by another, to be given permission, finally, to be what we are. For it is within vast, tender space that our experience can metabolize and unfold, without any pressure that we change, be different, be "happy," or "heal." When we are truly held in this way, our nervous systems down-regulate, our minds soften, our hearts open, and we come into an ancient sort of rest.

When we are provided sanctuary in which our entire being can show up, without apology—and we can dance without reservation or shame equally within the darkness and the light—a very natural process of healing is initiated. We find ourselves in an illuminated crucible, but the energies of transformation here have little to do with our own or another's effort, ideas, hopes, or fears. In fact, there is no support here at all for egoic process. 

Our strategies have fallen apart, there are no more processes to engage with, and we find ourselves in awe at the burning aliveness which has emerged in the space between. We are in the wild, unknown realms of the beloved, with no reference point to return to; only a raging sort of preciousness.

When we allow ourselves to enter deeply into the subjective experience of another—and when they feel us with them inside of the cracks and crevices of each and every cell of their heart—love takes over, the great natural perfection begins to whisper its secrets, and we turn toward home, together. It is often a messy journey, really—gooey, sticky, yummy, yucky, drippy, all of it—but is always somehow guided by the unseen hand of love, and the sweet and fierce grace that are its emissaries in this world.

While we'll probably never know exactly what Freud meant in his letter to Jung, I like to think (perhaps fantasize a bit) that it was something along these lines. 

Photo: friends comfort each other outside the residence of Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, shortly after his death, c/o Reuters