Sunday, March 1, 2015

Curmudgeon #1: Thoughting (newly dedicated to Jordan Peterson, incredible gasbag)

I have a big problem with thinking. There is just so much wrong with it. Clients with no good ideas – chronic worrisome, poisoned thoughts with no value but to enervate. Grotesque reductionism of complex feelings and needs: “I have a right to know everything and control my daughter’s life: I’m her mother.” The pseudo-reality of ideas, always ipso facto seeming to have a veneer of legitimacy, yet they’re the convoluted metamorphic stuff, debris and mountains, first thrown up from our underground magma – the body’s historical feeling. If you really want to know Self, shut down your thinking and feel the surge and the sludge beneath. You won’t find prejudice – racial or gender hatred; or simple labels like depression or anger or Borderline. You won’t find your philosophical mission statement or religious obduracy. You won’t find intellectualized disregard of your daughter’s personhood – the raison d’ĂȘtre of one client’s mother’s blog. You won’t find the “guilt” so many people claim from their childhood roots, because the feeling knows you did nothing wrong, that “guilt” was your parents’ cruel words and your accepting them because you needed love, because a six-year-old – if she has a chance at all – can’t reject her parents.

What you will find is heavy, foundational feeling states from childhood, and if you have a drill and a microscope, even deeper ones from a toddler’s or infant’s life. You will find adolescent or adult fusion-feelings – lighter but more dramatic – evolved from the earlier ones, because you’re not a different person from your child.

I’ll admit that it’s old age and ripened neurosis that have made me so weary of the constant diarrhea flow of thoughts that people spout day to day, year to year, generation to generation. All this helium! Regal political flatulence. Religious reframing of murder. Eight-hundred-page novels about people who would need therapy to know themselves. The world of popcorn heads floats away into the timeless sky, forever. And all the “racing” thoughts that circle in the head, infesting anxious or cognitive people.

Watching a client, I sometimes see his thinking itself as the problem: long-winded soliloquies full of “I guess” or “I’m probably” or “maybe it’s” or “I keep getting suspended because I’m impulsive because I’m ADHD” – utterly meaningless fudge, a floating Disney World. I want to – and sometimes do – say “Stop! Stop generating these thoughts.  Find your body.” People live on the wordy top floor of their tower.  Well below them is their ground, and below that the basement, then the dungeon. They may sense that where they stand or run is not the ground, but thought is the only flashlight they wield to look beneath them.

So what that we can’t – or shouldn’t – reach the bottom, the chains lying at our foundation? Living in the clouds is poison, too. My feeling is the deeper we go, the more gravity of ourselves we feel. We re-own our substance, remember and reclaim our utter unique. I wonder how many people remember that person.

1 comment:

  1. A former client, thirteen years back, emailed me in response to this post (“Thoughting”). She gave me permission to cite the first paragraph of her comment, which I want to do as it includes an insight or two that I hadn’t thought of. -- TPS

    “I totally agree with you about the thoughts aspect of our existence. Most of us live almost entirely in our heads, which are mostly ruled by our egos. Our egos love drama and fear and either feeling less than or more than others. The feelings are where it’s at. If we truly allow ourselves to feel them, they don’t lie. Those thoughts which endlessly parade through our brains, usually produce more pain than just facing the pain in the first place. I believe feelings are (if we are in touch with them), the real messengers.”


Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.