Sunday, April 26, 2009

the art of war and other therapeutic encounters

Life is a tactical engagement, a game violently played and for keeps. It serves to recall this, for even as the modern age tries to take the edge off this pathos of human nature, we remain _the_ avaricious manipulator. And while history peals glory-refrains of awesome achievement, its been alongside the loathsome durge of our persistently odious treatment of one another. Still, as esotericum instructs, it's not the task of the human to renounce its particular stain, but to work syncretically with even the most unpopular of facts. So woe be the clinician or naif sportif who enters the fray, the arena of our discontent, without some wry understandings or the aptitude for constructive action. Such is the on-going art of neutralizing....

The concept of the "adversary" or "opponent" is therefore a valuable one, for if the body teaches anything, it teaches we better bite that without contraries there is no progression [Blake]. For purchase, we need a fixed spot to anchor against. For spatial functioning, we need vectors that oppose and play in mutually exclusive direction in order to deliver opportunity to stasis or loss. To express any kind of power, we need a sweet-spot balance between adding/subtracting, digesting/voiding, tensing/compressing. For system responsiveness, the ability to not only steadystate but integrate and adapt, we need both sanctuary and utter destruction, parasympathetic restoration and total sympathetic annihilation (as in of a particle and its antiparticle : to vanish or cease to exist by coming together and changing into other forms of energy).... [Websters]

Each of us at various times has to play the part of adversary to someone else's wish-fulfilment. The therapist does it while holding space for transference resolution. The parent does it when refraining the freedom of a still unformed child. The friend does it when remaining optimistic in the face of misunderstanding. A colleague does it when they listen to the rhetoric of protestation but drag you kicking and screaming out of your sand box anyway. Adversarial dynamics are a fact of nature. They only drag us beneath the threshold of their constructive applications into mere conflict when we take them at face value and with the ego leading.

When the adversarial miasma _does_ take the lead between people its often hard to resist being drawn into the plotline of subjective experience. But its the very thing we gotta develop the smarts to resist if peace on any scale is to be achieved. For the clinician, conflict patterns shouldn't be a disappointment or an invitation to judge but an incitement to travel more deeply into the mystery of the client 'not-me' seeking its own truth and beauty.............. and therefore an invitation to inquiry the very source of healing itself, both the clinician's and the client's. For its the clinician who's there to relieve their own shame and effect transformational growth, it's the client who comes to enable it and work on _them_, never the other way around. [for more on this, check out Hawaiian Ho’oponopono]

The weapons and tactical assaults the adversary reaches for _first_ mark the only fire power the complex actually has, and further, the adversary unwittingly teases itself out onto a limb because it secretly wants the inconvenient exposure and loss of face, it wants to be found out. This is where heart is good to have and is best deftly used.

A case cannot start to unravel until we meet and make peace with the adversary to healing. Its the clinician's responsibility to bear the burden of such polarizations while cultivating the inner space needed to draw the other or the self toward the laying down of arms. Even when it means taking a few darts. Even when it means bleeding a little.

Reminds me how much I love it when people complain about the weather, rail against cloud, the cold or the rain like its all an odium and somehow _personal_. "There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes." [Billy Connolly]