Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday, Feb. 2: the Woundedness Racket

Yesterday on the radio a successful therapist was touting his latest book, a book on the problem with the world. Our original nature is love, he claims, and yet we have so much trouble loving. Why? We are wounded by parents not loving us for who we really are, and so we carry around grievances and can’t love.

The solution—big surprise—is to take his workshops where you can get “into” your grief about the wounds of your past. Then you will be free to live in the present.

Me, I say: why not just go for the present and see what gets in the way? If it’s a story about the past, do the Work (Byron Katie work) on the story. If it’s a mind full of whirling words, see what you can do to slow down and put your attention back to the present. But this added problem, the problem of our wounds, seems to me just one more layer of abstraction that takes us away from this moment.

If I’m not being loving to Marlie, it’s because I’m stuck in myself. Selfish is the word. The reality is: I am not in reality. I don’t see her. Or I see an annoyed face and hear and angry voice and I get frightened, and stop being in the present. In the present, her angry voice and annoyed face is her business. ( This does happen to her occasionally, not to imply this is her normal state, in case you know how fine she usually is. But anyway, we all have our crappy moments, usually most often with the person with whom we are living.)

In the present, I can just watch her and follow my breathing and wonder what’s going on with her. That’s who I am when I don’t attach to the story. This is the fourth question of the Byron Katie work:: Who would I be without my story? In the present, I can notice what the effects of having the “Marlie should be different” story. I can notice the tensing of my breathing, or the yammering of my story, which I guess could be called my grievance.

Is this grievance/yammering because I am wounded? That’s a theory, and a great theory to have if you want an endless supply of therapy clients, but what is the reality? The reality is that I’m yammering in my head and out of touch with my breathing. Reality is painful when I’m out of touch with the present.

This seems fair enough, whereas the poor-me, I was wounded when I was young world, seems a burden.

Oh, well. How to explain the bad Republicans and their wish for war. Wound man says, they are wounded and want the stern father to straighten up everything. Actually, he says, in our woundedness we split off the good parent and bad parent, and don’t see the bad parent, and so we project this onto the world. Okay, the projection thing happens all the time. I can discover that by doing the Work. If I think someone is a jerk, I can “turn it around” and discover where I’m a jerk.

Fine. That gives me a way out. I’m not wounded, or unwounded, I’m just living in a world where I forget that I, too, am a jerk. In that world of doing the work and doing the turnaround, I have room to laugh at myself and be happy. If I project bad this, and bad that, and I’m too good, I get myself painted into a moralistic corner (something I am won’t to do, actually, in the world of riding a bicycle instead of driving a car). That feels lonely if I am in reality.

If I am out of reality, being Right seems like a substitute, but it’s not. It’s fake food. Okay, why does George W. Bush have to be Right? Because 9-11 took away the life he really wants: fishing and golfing and screwing around on his ranch. He is scared and wants to be big (all theories, which could be as much nonsense as woundedness), so he tries to be some picture of big and strong, and being right helps him fit into that picture.

Wound man would say it’s because he was wounded. I’d say, bad habits. He never learned to be in reality. Now, actually, as a sales pitch, getting G. W. Bush to buy the wounded story might be easier than realizing that he has lived his whole life out of reality, but if he were to do the Work of BK, he’d find out that all his Bad Enemy stories are just that. He could come into reality.

That might be nice, or at least that’s my story.

So, were we wounded? Sure, if you want that story. Are we asleep to the present.? Seems so to me. What do we do next? If you are wounded, buy Wound Man’s book and start grieving. If you want to be in reality, come on, right now is waiting right now. Still annoyed with your past?

Do the Work.

Or not. It’s your decision. Just don’t blame feeling bad on your wounds. Blame it on between the ears, the organization of your attention. This sounds so harsh, as if we are responsible for how we feel. What a concept! We are responsible for how we feel, which means if we are suffering, that’s our responsibility and so, if we want to undo our suffering, that’s our possibility. Without any need to be wounded. Only a wish to be present and to do the Work on the stories that keep us out of the present.

But that’s too easy.

Well, then, you can always go in for a couple more years of therapy.


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