Thursday, December 9, 2010

How Healing Happens...

Once again, as I approach the task of writing, discomfort arises naturally... a rumble from underground since writing reaches down below the surface and touches on my inner life.  What is my story and how do I heal, become whole?!  I trust that speaking the truth of my life will speak to others as well. 

I manage to avoid the question as long as I can with seemingly endless distractions.  Yes, there are so many important things to "do" and that must be done.  Cumulatively, the lists of people to contact and errands to check off amount to an obstacle in disguise. In Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach states that the  the Chinese ideogram for "busy-ness" means "heart-killing."  While Chinese scholars may take issue with the pseudo-Oriental wisdom so espoused (see:, the thrust of her point is in the right direction. As neutral or even valued as busy-ness may appear, it often is used to avoid and deny the call of the psyche, that inner process.

By answering the "summons" that requires me to put words to my experience, I face the dread of owning up to my own defensive strategies.   As long as I immersed myself fully in helping others transform their suffering, I maintained some protection from looking at my own.  But taking the inward journey and expressing myself consciously strips me of that protection.  I am exposed to myself and to readers alike.  Facing fear and doing it anyway,  a great title for a book (see, is one part of how healing happens.  But it's not all about "doing" and it's not that simple.

My clinical experience over and over again showed me the path to healing for others was helping them safely approach an experience or affect that previously overwhelmed them.  Although based in past experience, whatever overwhelmed the psyche continues to accumulate energy and shape who we are and what we become.  In Jungian terms, those packets of energy are "complexes" and all of us have them. 

Only by becoming conscious of our individual complexes can we begin to engage maturely in the mystery of our lives.  Instead of being "fated" to live out a destiny shaped by our history, identifying our complexes gives us new options, choices that we can act on, to expand the narrow space that seemed to be our "self."

But...yes... BUT!  We may have choices, but our complexes have accumulated energy over our lifetime. Those old patterns are as if embedded within us through the force of habit.  To alter their automatic function, we have to develop a counteractive awareness practice that can impede their force and direction.  It's far from easy to see the force of the train coming and turn it around before it rushes on to its destination.  At the least, for healing to begin, we have to start with resolve and determination, on the lookout for the patterns that prevent us from being whole.