So I’m not sure how to begin this post because it was all so intense and beautiful. Some of you may know about Erica. I’ve written several poems and stories about her, including this week’s one “Wonder.” We were true adventurers and kindred spirits, soul mates, when our worlds around us (in private) were treacherous and unknown, we found sanctuary and beauty in each other. “My first love,” as she put it, “love in its purest form.” THat was us. We drifted, we “broke up” in a sense. But we never forgot each other–especially when we each had our own breakdowns on opposite sides of the world. We began emailing and writing to each other and sending music to each other. We confessed our souls out Continue reading
So I’m reading up some more on Jung which led me back to Alan Watts The Way of Zen. It’s a great book but I prefer (here’s a PDF version) The Book: The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. Here’s a snippet of what The Book is like:
If you haven’t read these and are interested in healing and finding your way than these are the books for you. I’ve been a long-time fan of Watts and now my self-study to occupy my days is Jung. One part I wanted to share with you is Jung’s Psychological Types (a brief intro). There are 8 psychological types according to Jung: out of the two ATTITUDE types and the four FUNCTIONAL types it becomes theoretically possible to describe eight psychological types:
- extraverted sensation type
- introverted sensation type
- extraverted thinking type
- introverted thinking type
- extraverted feeling type
- intraverted feeling type
- extraverted intuition type
- intraverted intuition type
I’m the Intraverted Intuitive type (to read what these are check out in brief JUNG: A VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION):
“Introverted Intuition does not concern itself with external possibilities but with what the external objects has released within.’ People of this type are inclined to make use of the mechanism of reification (i.e. they treat ideas, images, or insights as if they were real objects). ‘For intuition, therefore, unconscious images acquire the dignity of things.’ Like Jung himself, who was primarily an introverted intuitive type (with thinking as his auxiliary function), they have difficulty in communicating ideas simply and in an organized way, for they pursue image after image, idea after idea, ‘chasing after every possibility in the womb of the unconscious,’ as Jung says, while usually overlooking what personal implications these possibilities may have. ‘Had his type not existed, there would have been no prophets in Israel.’ They may have brilliant insights, which, if they can be bothered or sufficiently organized to communicate them, others proceed to build on.
Shadow: extraverted sensation. Because this is mostly unconscious, they are constantly in danger of losing touch with outer reality, and if they break down they become schizophrenic (oh so true). Many have schizoid personalities, as did Jung himself as a boy. Vague about practical details and poorly oriented in space and time, they tend to forget appointments, are seldom punctual, and easily get lost in strange places. Their poor relationship to reality, combined with the depth of their insights, causes some to experience themselves as belonging to the ‘misunderstood genius’ category. Their attitude to sexuality can be crude and inappropriate, and they tend to make poor lovers since they are unaware of what is happening in their own or their partner’s body.
Examples: seers, poets, prophets, psychologists (not experimental or academic ones), artists, shamans, mystics, and Continue reading
“I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head/ they crawl in like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed/dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone/playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home/there’s a burning in my pride, a nervous bleeding in my brain/an ounce of peace is all I want for you/will you never call again…” –Blue October “Hate Me”
When we let ourselves feel fear, the discontent, the difficulties we have always avoided, our heart softens…allow ourselves to be touched by the pain of life…The knowledge that we can do this and survive helps us to awaken the greatness of our heart. With greatness of heart, we can sustain a presence in the midst of life’s suffering…We can open to the world–its ten thousands joys and ten thousand sorrows. ***With wise understanding we ALLOW OURSELVES TO CONTAIN ALL THINGS, BOTH DARK AND LIGHT, AND WE COME TO SENSE OF PEACE…THE PEACE WE FIND IN THE HEART THAT HAS REJECTED NOTHING, THAT TOUCHES ALL THINGS WITH COMPASSION.
–from A PATH WITH HEART
“In any event, as regards the correlation between mind and body, we may note…that the poet will naturally tend to write about that which most deeply engrosses him–and nothing more deeply engrosses a man than his burdens, including those of a physical nature, such as disease. We win by capitalizing on our debts, by turning our liabilities into assets, by using our burdens as a basis of insight.” –Kenneth Burke
HENRY MILLER Continue reading
(in response to the question “Do You Believe In God?” over at Storylane)
I was brought up strictly Catholic. In college I dabbled in Buddhism and Hinduism, studied the Qaran (Koran?) and Judaism. But I never understood what faith was, or God, or Love, until after I hit rock bottom. When I was 28 my childhood years of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse all came to a head and I had Complex, chronic Post-Traumatic-stress Disorder. I began having psychotic break-throughs daily, along with auditory hallucinations from my Bipolar Disorder. I was chronically dissociating and hearing voices and existing as if on a different plane, dissociating into a godless existential space where no one could reach me. I was spinning out of my life. I lost my job, my friends, my sanity, my house, and my fiance within a year. I admitted myself to “the bin” when the voices and the dissociating and the psychosis became too much to bear. I showed up there like a child in a woman’s heels, banging on their yellow security door, crying “help me, help me” into the intercom.
My entire life, for as far back as I can remember, I was empty. I spent most of my twenties searching for some kind of substance of me. I got lost in a city, drinking and drugging and sleeping with anyone. The emptiness only grew and darkened and it wasn’t until my biological father died on the bar room floor from drinking that I had my first major panic attack and psychotic break. I moved home and tried to recover. I went to college and had a daughter; I made the Dean’s list, I was nominated for a writing scholarship in New York, and my essays and stories in college were coming out like a fever. I began writing about my past, which I’d never done before. I was remembering things I’d never remembered before. And the sickness took flight. I had to drop out, being to ill to face class every day. Too ill to face life every day. The emptiness was no longer a pit but a festering wound that I knew I’d have to face head on. But I knew I couldn’t force it–I had to hit rock bottom patiently. It would come in its own time. And when I was engaged and living a happy, safe, comfortable life, my body broke down. My mind soured.
In “the bin” there was no god. There was no heaven or hell, just a pointless meaningless world where nothing and no one mattered–we were all products of chaos and chance. I’d have flashbacks where there was blood on my face and a blindfold on my eyes and I’d sort of come to and I’d cry for all the sadness in this world. I was beyond empty–the girl that was empty was now dead. She was gone. And not worth finding, I believed. I was gone. She was gone. I’d stare at myself in the safety mirror which was like a metal pan bolted to the tiles in my high-security private room, and I’d stare into my black eyes. There were no stars in them. No light. I was terrified of showering, terrified of the way certain lights fell across the carpet. I’d close my eyes on my cot and try to imagine my grandmother but all I pictured was this black creature with red eyes–every time I closed my eyes. I ended up in the bin four times, I couldn’t survive at home, being so afraid of everything, especially myself. The psychosis was an oily, hellish plane of reality where no one was real, no one could help me. My family would have to hold on to me and say I was ok and I’d shake and shriek and say “I’m not going to make it, I’m not going to make it!” I wanted to die. This continued for a couple years, every day, like that. And the nights were just as awful–I was afraid I’d hurt my daughter so I stayed with family. I was afraid my breath would quit this body too and that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. I don’t know how I went through two years of that. I don’t know how I survived. I was so afraid I’d kill myself (because when I was psychotic I thought I’d lose control of my body) that I avoided the bath with my pink razors. I’d slam the medicine cabinet on my pills and run away crying. In a nutshell, I was nuts. Clinically insane.
But one day, early in the spring, I was sitting on the back porch watching bees, and it was like I suddenly woke up. And it all made sense. The emptiness I’d carried around my entire life was gone. I wasn’t in pieces anymore. Sure the pieces needed sorting out, but they were back together somehow. And one night, I wrote a poem about Jesus being with me and God loving me and carrying me when I couldn’t walk–that I fell to my knees and sobbed, overwhelmed by some foreign love for me coming from somewhere. I knew I hadn’t been alone, because I would have died had I been. It all fit together–the teachings of the Buddha, Hinduism, the Upanishads, the Vendata, the Koran, the Bible, Jesus–they were all one and the same. They all meant the same thing. I was a child of God. I wasn’t alone on this journey. I don’t know how it came to be, I just knew it to be true with my entire being. Even now, every time I go to church I have to hide my tears because I’m overwhelmed by a power and love I cannot name. God, the Atman, the Godhead, Yahweh–whatever you want to call it–breathes into every molecule of our beings and the world around us. I have found a sort of peace. I have a certain kind of grace that is quiet and private. I’ve aged so much in so few years…and it was worth it. God was merely awaking me. In the dark–that cold, lonely, hellish place–he never left me alone. He/It carried me. Carried me like water.
the works in this set of translations–the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Dhammapada, are the earliest and most universal of messages like these, sent to inform us that there is more to life than the everyday experience of our senses. The Upanishads are the oldest
Some excerpts from Indian Spirituality:
You are what your deep, driving desire is.
As your desire is, so is your will.
As your will is, so is your deed.
As your deed is, so is your destiny. [Brihadaranyaka IV. 4.5]
We live in accordance with our deep, driving desire.
It is this desire at the time of death that determines
what our next life will be. We will come back to earth
to work out the satisfaction of that desire.
But not those who are free from desire; they are free
because all their desires have found fulfillment in
the Self. They do not die like the others; but realizing
Brahman, they merge in Brahman. So it is said:
When all the desires that surge in the heart
are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the heart
are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal,
Here in this very life.
As the skin of a snake is sloughed onto an anthill, so
does the mortal body fall; but the Self, freed from the