Friday, January 9, 2015

A cure through love

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 despair? We hear that to truly love another is the most powerful form of healing, but what does this actually mean?

While it can appear in many different forms, there seems to be a primordial sort of longing in us to be fully met by another – to be granted 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, feel 'better,' transform, 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. While our true nature as pure, open awareness is the ultimate holding environment, as relational beings we are wired to rest within a relational matrix.

When we allow ourselves to become the vast space in which the other's experience can be exactly what it is – without any agenda that they 'heal,' 'feel better,' see things like we do, or have only those feelings which we are comfortable with – we find ourselves in a crucible outside ordinary time and space. It is here where the wounds of the heart are metabolized and where previously unresolved psychic, emotional, and somatic tangles are unwound, illuminated, and transformed by the alchemical substance of love.

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

Art by Albena Vatcheva - "Do Not Leave Me"