Friday, August 26, 2011

running from ...


In listening to my patients tell me thousands of stories, as they try to find some peace in the present, I have learned this beyond the shadow of a doubt.  Rather than behaving sanely, rather than being in touch with our present realities, we human beings - all of us, myself included - are too often simply run by losses and hardships long gone by, and by our stockpiled fears.  Our collective history, our individual lives, our very minds, bear unmistakable testimony.

Instead of receding harmlessly into the past, the darkest, most frightening events from our childhood and adolescence gain power and authority as we grow older.  The memory of such events causes us to depart from ourselves, psychologically speaking, or to separate one part of our awareness from the others.  What we conceive of as an unbroken thread of consciousness is, instead, quite often a train of discontinuous fragments.  Our awareness is divided.  And much more commonly that we know, even our personalities are fragmented - disorganized team efforts trying to cope with the past - rather than the sane, unified wholes we anticipate in ourselves and in other people...

Is this our unalterable destiny as human beings?

~ Martha Stout
from The Myth of Sanity, Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness
art by picasso