Monday, November 4, 2013

Precursors to the Sexual: Little Pleasures (Part One)

Buddhists believe that, to be integrated into the creative and destructive natural processes of the universe, we must learn the acceptance of suffering. Psychoanalytic and existential therapies make a distinction between two fundamental kinds of suffering. One is a consequence of fate (i.e., everyday problems such as sickness, grandiose bosses, and rambunctious children). We bring further suffering on ourselves wen we try to escape it by denying its existence. If we accept the fact that suffering is part of our lives, we don't have to fight it by hiding our eyes from the truth -- or from what the truth demands of us in the way of acceptance.

Therapy is an effort to open our eyes to the reality of how we have distorted our minds and emotions in order to avoid and deny painful reality. Therapy does not deny that reality can be painful; it teaches acceptance and, at its best, the joyful transcendence that comes with the recognition of a power greater than ourselves.

Making yourself into a victim, as women tend to do, or making yourself into a stoic anti-dependent, as men tend to do, is a disemplowering delusion, part of an elaborate process of self-deception instigated by childhood abuse. Acceptance of suffering as part of the life of each human born of imperfect parents is a healthy recognition of the truth of the human condition. Such acceptance empowers us because it prompts us to find ways to live healthfully within that truth.

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