“Emotional occasions . . . are extremely potent in precipitating mental rearrangements.  The sudden and explosive ways in which love, jealousy, guilt, fear, remorse or anger can seize upon one are known to everybody.  Hope, happiness, security, resolve . . . can be equally explosive.  And emotions that come in this explosive way seldom leave things as they found them.”

     William James  1902

 

     "But through a variety of adverse influences, a child may not be permitted to grow according to his individual needs and possibilities.  Such unfavorable conditions are too manifold to list here.  But, when summarized, they all boil down to the fact that people in the environment are too wrapped up in their own neuroses to be able to love the child, or even to conceive of him as the particular individual he is; their attitudes toward him are determined by their own neurotic needs and responses.  In simple words, they may be dominating, overprotective, intimidating, irritable, overexacting, overindulgent, erratic, partial to other siblings, hypocritical, indifferent, etc.  It is never a matter of just a single factor, but always the whole constellation that exerts the untoward influence on a child’s growth.

     As a result, the child does not develop a feeling of belonging of “we,” but instead a profound insecurity and vague apprehensiveness, for which I use the term basic anxiety.  It is his feeling of being isolated and helpless in a world conceived as potentially hostile.  The cramping pressure of his basic anxiety prevents the child from relating himself to others with the spontaneity of his real feelings, and forces him to find ways to cope with them.  He must (unconsciously) deal with them in ways which do not arouse, or increase, but rather allay his basic anxiety.  The particular attitudes resulting from such unconscious strategical necessities are determined both by the child’s given temperament and by the contingencies of the environment.  Briefly, he may try to cling to the most powerful person around him; he may try to rebel and fight; he may try to shut others out of his inner life and withdraw emotionally from them.  In principle, this means that he can move toward, against, or away from others.”

      Karen Horney  1950

 

     "At the base of the conditioned mind is a wanting.  This wanting takes many forms.  It wants to be secure.  It wants to be happy.  It wants to survive.  It wants to be loved.  It also has specific wants:  objects of desire, friendships, food, this color or that color, this kind of surrounding or some other kind.  There’s wanting not to have pain.  There’s wanting to be enlightened.  There’s wanting things to be as we wish they were.

     Our daydreams are imaginings of getting what we want; nightmares of being blocked from what we want.  The planning mind tries to assure satisfaction.  Most thought is based on the satisfaction of desires.  Therefore, much thought has at its root a dissatisfaction with what is.  Wanting is the urge for the next moment to contain what this moment does not.  When there’s wanting in the mind, that moment feels incomplete.  Wanting is seeking elsewhere.  Completeness is being right here.

     When we see the depth of wanting in the mind, we see the depth of dissatisfaction because wanting can’t be satisfied:  when we get finished with one desire there’s always another.  As long as we’re trying to satisfy desire, we’re increasing wanting.

     Ironically, when we experience the depth of dissatisfaction in the wanting mind there follows a great joy.  Because when we see that no object of mind can in itself satisfy, then nothing that arises can draw us out and we begin to let go because there is nothing worth holding onto.  The more we see how the mind wants, the more we see how wanting obscures the present.  To realize that there is nothing to hold onto that can offer lasting satisfaction shows us there is nowhere to go and nothing to have and nothing to be - and that’s freedom."

     Stephen Levine  1979

 

     "On his right hand Billy’d tattood the word love and on his left hand the word fear, and in which hand he held his fate was never clear."

     Bruce Springsteen  1987

 

     "Part of understanding restlessness is understanding that meditation, like life, has its way of recycling.  Some people don’t like the aspect of life that has so many cycles.  They want it to be very even and not have so many ups and downs.  Unfortunately, on our planet, things don’t work that way.  There are constant changes.  Our practice is to relate to what Zorba the Greek called “the whole catastrophe,” all the parts of it - the beautiful, the pleasant, the troublesome, and the unpleasant - with a certain amount of ease and humor.

     This quality of acceptance is the ground out of which true insight and understanding develop.  If we don’t accept some aspect of ourselves - a feeling, a physical or mental sense of ourselves - then we cannot learn about it.  We cannot discover its nature and become free in relationship to it.  We become afraid, we resist, we judge, and we try to push away.  We cannot look deeply and push away at the same time.  When mindfulness is well developed and the ground of acceptance is laid, then the body and mind are filled with a sense of comfort.  Even if something difficult or painful has arisen, this comfort is underlying it.  The element of comfort is also an antidote to restlessness and anxiety."

     Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield  1987

 

     “There is an art to facing difficulties in ways that lead to effective solutions and to inner peace and harmony. When we are able to mobilize our inner resources to face our problems artfully, we find we are usually able to orient ourselves in such a way that we can use the pressure of the problem itself to propel us through it, just as a sailor can position a sail to make the best use of the pressure of the wind to propel the boat. You

can’t sail straight into the wind, and if you only know how to sail with the wind at your back, you will only go where the wind blows you. But if you know how to use the wind’s energy and are patient, you can sometimes get where you want to go. You can still be in control.”

     Jon Kabat-Zinn  1990

 

     "...perceived efficacy to exercise control over potentially threatening events plays a central role in anxiety arousal.  Threat is not a fixed property of situational events.  Nor does appraisal of the likelihood of aversive happenings rely solely on reading external signs of danger or safety.  Rather, threat is a relational matter concerning the match between perceived coping capabilities and potentially hurtful aspects of the environment.  Therefore, to understand people’s appraisals of external threats and their affective reactions to them, it is necessary to analyze their judgements of their coping capabilities.  Efficacy beliefs determine, in large part, the subjective perilousness of environmental events."

     Albert Bandura  1997

 

     "There are many ways to access core affective experience.  For instance, aesthetic experiences (movies, songs, works of art, a beautiful landscape), intense moments of achievement, personally or vicariously experienced (e.g., Mark McGwire’s breaking the home-run record), falling in love, socially shared experiences (e.g., the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.) all have the power to effect deep and moving transformations.  It is the goal of AEDP to take core affective experience out of the realm of serendipity and gain access to it with some degree of reliability."

     Diana Fosha  2000

 

     "The essence of the therapeutic presence in the affective model of change is being inside the patient’s world as an other and the patient’s feeling it and knowing it.  In the presence of such a presence, the patient’s world unfolds.  This presence - equal parts knowing and wanting to know, being there and wanting to be there - makes it possible for people to talk to someone else about parts of themselves that are painful and hidden and frightened and frightening and dangerous and disorganizing.  Empathy which involves a process of attunement both to core affective experience and to what makes it scary, painful, or exhilarating for the patient, requires the therapist’s immersion in the patient’s world so as to articulate tacit experience."

     Diana Fosha   2000

 

     "The main source of power that parents have over children comes not so much out of what they tell the child to do as from “showing” him who he is.  That is, by relating to the child as though he is “such and such” and ignoring other aspects of him as if they do not exist, the parents “disconfirm” the relational existence of those aspects of the child’s self that they ignore...  This is a major reason why it is so difficult for many people to change in treatment...  Thus, a central goal of any treatment is that the therapist enable the patient to move from experiencing his enacted patterns of behavior as the person he is, to experiencing these patterns as something he does, and thereby facilitate the development of self-reflection."

     Philip Bromberg  2006

 

"Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. Thats why it loves perfectionists - it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither. Just the way exposure to light was deadly for the gremlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it."

     Brené Brown  2012

 

"When you’re getting better, it’s a jagged line."

     Jenny Lewis  2014

 

“...empathy is always perched precariously between gift and invasion...it’s figuring out how to bring difficulty into the light so it can be seen...Empathy isn’t just listening, it’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to...Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see...”

     Leslie Jamison  2014


Citations

Bandura, Albert. Self-Efficacy: the exercise of control. New York: Freeman. 1997. Print.

Bromberg, Philip M. Awakening the Dreamer: clinical journeys. Mahwah, NJ: Analytic Press. 2006. Print.

Brown, Brené.  Daring Greatly:  how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead.  New York:  Gotham Books.  2012.  Print.

Cleary, Thomas.  Introduction to Mastering the Art of War, Translated and Edited by Thomas Cleary.  Boston:  Shambala, 1989.

Fosha, Diana. The Transforming Power of Affect: a model for accelerated change. New York: Basic Books. 2000. Print.

Goldstein, Joseph and Jack Kornfield. Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: the path of insight meditation. Boston: Shambhala. 1987. Print.

Horney, Karen. Neurosis and Human Growth: the struggle toward self-realization. New York: Norton. 1950. Print.

James, William. “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” William James: writings 1902-1910. Ed. Bruce Kuklick. New York: The Library of America, 87. 1-477. Print.

Jamison, Leslie. The Empathy Exams. Minneapolis: Graywolf Press. 2014. Print.

Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell. 1990. Print.

Levine, Stephen. A Gradual Awakening. Garden City, New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday. 1979. Print.

Lewis, Jenny. “the Voyager.” Voyager. Warner Bros., 2014. CD.

Springsteen, Bruce. “Cautious Man.” Tunnel of Love. Columbia. 1987. CD.