Sunday, February 14, 2016

A short lesson

All in one week, three clients appeared for whom nothing had any meaning.  They were ages 15, 18 and 24, two young men and a woman.  One could say they had reached a point in their lives where everything had dried up, evaporated.  How absurd that seems, at their age.  But I know it’s exactly true, because looking back, I could say the same was true of me at 15.  I had pretend values, yes, but they were only narcissistic supplies: philosophy, political ideology, creative writing.  In reality, nothing existed as the world quickly transformed – the receding of childhood now inevitable – from an external place bathed in my dissociating anxiety, to bleak solipsism.

I am certain that any victim of this meaninglessness can feel the cause of it and the antidote to it at once, within the constipation of the emptiness.   What they will sense is unexpressed and frozen pain waiting to burst, but held still forever, up to this point.  This is really a feeling, of deep historical grief waiting to happen: This is what has balled up and suffocated the nerves of life, lightning, love.  In each of us who knows this state, there will be the sense of real life immanent in its absence.

This is my lesson today: Absence of meaning is stillborn pain.  Add time passing, and the body is benumbed, feeling vitiates, and the thinking brain tries to run away but is tied to the anesthetized body.  Thoughts float, empty.

There will be no help from the here-and-now.  The here-and-now, when promoted by the therapist, is Kafka’s The Trial: a sentence or a funeral where the victim doesn’t know what has died.  You have to go into the past.  That’s the kind of grieving and healing the world has rarely known about, where we stop time and stay holding the hurt heart until it has bled out its pain.  This doesn’t take “forever,” because there is no time.  We will not let time resume until it has happened.

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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.