My analyst once said to me, “You must make your fears your agenda.” When we do take on that agenda, for all the anxiety engendered, we feel better because we know we are living in ‘bonne foi’ [good faith] with ourselves. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the perception that some things are more important to us than what we fear
James Hollis, Swamplands of the Soul
If we realize that our greatest enemy is fear
and what it does to us, and how much it launches these automatic protective programs,
then we realize that there’s a kind of daily summons to stand up in face of our fears
and risk being who we are and risk potential loss of our comfort zones
and the consensual approval that every child needs,
but which becomes a kind of constrictive burden for the adult
Our psychological work is to journey from the chaos of our personal unconscious to a coherent conscious integration. Our spiritual path then takes us to the treasures of the cosmic, collective unconscious and full individuation. Everything in our lives, no matter how terrible, exists in relation to an inner healing force. “The journey with father and mother up and down many ladders represents the making conscious of infantile concerns that have not yet been integrated…The personal unconscious must always be dealt with first…otherwise the gateway to the collective unconscious cannot be opened”, Jung tells us. Our work as adults is thus an heroic journey, since a hero is anyone who has lived through pain and been transformed by it.
David Richo, How to Be an Adult
For many of us, when our particular place of insecurity or woundedness is touched, we easily regress into the fullness of trance. At these times there seems to be no choice as to what we feel, think, say or do. Rather, we “go on automatic,” reacting in our most habitual way to defend ourselves, to cover over the rawness of our hurt. Yet, the very behaviors we use to keep us from pain only fuel our suffering. Not only do our escape strategies amplify the feeling that something is wrong with us, they stop us from attending to the very parts of ourselves that most need our attention to heal.
As Carl Jung states in one of his key insights, the unfaced and unfelt parts of our psyche are the source of all neurosis and suffering. The good news is that when we can learn to feel and face the fear and shame we habitually avoid, with compassion, wisdom, and courage, we can begin to awaken from trance; we can begin to free ourselves to respond to our circumstances in ways that bring genuine peace and happiness.
Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance
photo eric kilby
It is a bewildering thing in human life,
that the thing that causes the greatest fear
is the source of the greatest wisdom.
photo r brunsch
The Real …expects nothing of speech
Le réel …n’attend rien de la parole.
Jacques Lacan, French Psychoanalyst, Ecrits