On Finding Your Celestial Parent
In my book I tried to discuss it in as abstract and universal a manner as possible. Once you are convinced that there is a higher reality -- whatever you wish to call it -- then naturally you will want to be in communion with it. It's as simple as saying that there is O and there is (¶), and we want to establish an open system between the two. Once the open system is established, then "evolution" may take place.
I'm thinking of puberty. All of a sudden, it dawns on you that girls exist. Then, you say to yourself, "I want one." How can I establish a relationship with one of these mysterious creatures? What do they want from me? Why does it seem so easy for others? Why can't I have that one?
There is an adage to the effect that disagreement between the sages is a divine mercy. Perhaps God has given the different revelations -- or even the different inflections within each -- because not everyone can fall in love with the same one. For some, it's love at first sight. For others, more like an arranged marriage, in which you marry first and fall in love later. Many people only pretend to be married, with no real passion at all. How do you maintain a passionate marriage?
That's a different question. But is it? I have mentioned before that when Bion saw a patient, he didn't want to know anything about them up front, for example, whether or not they were married. Rather, he wanted to decide that for himself. You see, many people are married, but not really, not in the deeper sense of the word, only in a conventional sense. My parents were "married" for 40 years, but not really, certainly not the way I am. Or, to the extent that they were, much of their bond revolved around what I would call (-p), or "minus passion," the same way our scientistic jester is married to this blog. He's not here to love us, but to argue with us, which is every bit as "binding" as any other passion.
This is not to say that my parents didn't love each other. They did the best they could with the material at hand, but it's very obvious that mind parasites with agendas all their own were also married to one another, in a mutual dance of projective identification. Bion noted that there were three main links between subjects, L, H, and K (or love, hate, and knowledge, plus their "minus" versions). Obviously, in approaching the Divine, we want to do so with the links of L and K. In contrast, the obligatory atheist has just as passionate a relationship to O, only it is through an H link, or often a -K, which accounts for their invariably foolish metaphysics, which only other atheists believe -- and which they believe in order to maintain the passionate H or -K link.
As with marriage, it hardly needs to be emphasized that many people who claim to be religious are not, at least as far as I am concerned. What then are they? Well, it's not just confined to religion. Most people aren't anything, not in any coherent and consistent way. There is no real "center" to them, except perhaps in the vital sense. They have a lot of appetites and sentiments, and that is the arbitrary and shifting center out of which they operate. And even then, "center" is the wrong word. They have a "middle," but no true center, because the latter implies a dynamic, self-organizing interiority which they lack.
Religion very much involves locating your center -- which resonates with the ontological center of being -- and living out of it. In so doing, it becomes more "robust" while becoming both deeper and higher (which amount to the same thing). But again, it can only take place in dynamic rapport with O. One must have a living relationship with the nonlocal order, not merely a "formal" or conventional one. Prayer, meditation, lectio divina -- again, all of these are merely the means to establish and deepen the link to O.
I suppose this is where I part ways with the traditionalists, as my main concern is not so much with maintaining strict fidelity to authorized forms of spiritual transmission, but with establishing the transmission "by any means necessary," so to speak -- although great weight is given to established doctrine, and for most people, this will be their best bet.
As a matter of fact, my doctoral dissertation touched on this subject, as did the second academic paper I published back in 1994 (seems much longer ago -- like several lifetimes). That paper was entitled Psychoanalysis, Chaos and Complexity: The Evolving Mind as a Dissipative Structure. It demonstrated the striking parallels between Ilya Prigogine's theory of dissipative structures and Bion's theory of mental development, or "evolution in O."
In hindsight, one can often see the same recurring "deep structure" in the work of a scientist, artist, or thinker. Now that I look back on it, this would obviously be one of the central threads that runs through my work. In a way, it is as if I had a number of "realizations" in 1985, and the rest has involved working out the implications.
It is a cliche -- but nevertheless true -- that our wounds are often the portals through which we may exit ourselves. In the lead is the gold, as the alchemists used to say; our defect is often a gift (just as every gift carries a curse). In my case, I was aware from the earliest age that something was amiss between me and my parents. No, they weren't abusive in any sense of the word, nor was I materially deprived in any way.
However, it was clear to me from the age of five or so that there was a lack of chemistry. Quite simply, they did not understand me, not in any deep way. It was as if I had landed in the wrong family. They still "related" to me. They weren't at all withdrawn. It's just that it wasn't "me" to whom they were relating. Thankfully, I never became that person. Many people do become the person to whom their parents relate, and then go to a psychologist to fix the problem when they reach adulthood and can't figure out why something is lacking in their life. What is lacking is their true self. Fortunately, I found other ways to identify and develop my true self, but it wasn't easy.
In one sense, I can't say that I blame my parents, as it would have required very unusual people to understand me, and that itself might have had its own downside, as eccentric people often have a lot of baggage. I'm running short on time, so I don't have time to go into all the details, but because of the lack of connection to my parents, I have a heightened awareness of this whenever I experience it in life, which is quite frequently. Indeed, I can now see that one of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with other people who are "like me," and who share the same idiom (idiom being a psychoanalytic term of art that has to do with the people, ideas, and objects we require in order to articulate our true selves).
In any event, if we transpose these ideas to the key of Spirit, we have to imagine God as a good father who -- being good -- wishes to establish an open system with us, in which we connect at our deepest level. In this regard, I can see how different my relationship is with my son, as compared to my father's relationship with me. In the case of my son, from the very start, we have been very aware of his unique subjectivity and idiom, and have tried to respond to him in such a way that he won't feel that sense of alienation that occurs as a result of being unable to locate an "interpersonal world" that corresponds to our deepest self.
Back to the question before the house. O is like a multifacted jewel. It is one, but has diverse modes that correspond to the deepest nature of those who approach it. Locate your center -- your psychic being -- which is "behind" the empirical ego, and is the blueprint of your true self. It is like a bead on a celestial string that descends from God to you. Find the divine language, the logos, that speaks to this true self; in a sense, the two cannot be separated, for to find the idiom is to locate the Self and therefore God. Then it's just a matter of deepening the conversation.