A Felt Sense: More Explorations of Psychoanalysis and Kabbalah

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This book picks up where Michael Eigen's previous work, Kabbalah and Psychoanalysis, left off. It is based on two expanded transcriptions of seminars given for the New York University Postdoctoral Program Contemplative Studies Project. As noted in the previous book, W. R. Bion once said that he uses the Kabbalah as a framework for psychoanalysis. This book enlarges the inner sense of this statement. The seminars depict intricate intertwining of processes in psychoanalysis and Kabbalah, processes important in helping us live more richly. Religious language helps bring out nuances of psychological states and psychology helps make the language of the spirit more meaningful to emotional concerns today.Bion and Winnicott are the main psychoanalytic heroes of this work, each adding richness to a "root sense" out of which their clinical and written work grow. A felt sense, spans many dimensions, traversing sensory life, vital sensing, common sense, the sense of language, cultural sensing, intuition, Freud's use of consciousness as a sense organ of psychical perception, and other qualities still unknown.Case descriptions include extended work with an alcoholic man, opening new paths to living, and a detailed account of helping a creative, tormented woman die well. Aspects of psychosis, creativity, mysticism and everyday life blend and have a say. The main focus is psychic reality, with psychoanalysis and Kabbalah tools in this great enterprise of learning to work with ourselves.

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CHAPTER ONE The first seminar

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1

CHAPTER TITLE

CHAPTER ONE

The first seminar

s is the custom of the NYU Contemplative Studies Project, we will begin with a short meditation, here a little guided meditation, a little quiet time in the beginning. I will speak some words. If you’re inclined, let them run through you. Feel them, taste them.

A

[Spoken slowly, many pauses]

There is a great radiance in this room, a light lighter than light.

It pervades your body, all through you. It is your body.

Light beyond light. So bright it can’t be seen.

An invisible light, your light.

Light everywhere.

*

*

*

There is a great darkness in this room.

Darkness darker than dark.

1

2

A FELT SENSE

It pervades your soul. It is your soul.

A loving darkness.

A loving darkness that light can’t dim.

You are darkness, darker than dark.

You are light, lighter than light.

Sit for some moments, held by the quiet of the dark and the glow of the light.

 

CHAPTER TWO The second seminar

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CHAPTER TWO

The second seminar

t’s been a wild few weeks here—a hurricane, a nor’easter, a presidential election. So much damage, so much hope. How many people here saw Obama’s last or near last campaign speech where he repeatedly says, “Are you fired up?” Three people? There won’t be too much of a response then, but we’ll try.

I

“Are you fired up?”

“Ready to go!” [a few people said, more whisper than shout.]

You’re supposed to say, “Ready to go!” Let’s try it again.

“Are you fired up? Are you fired up?!” [laughter]

“Ready to go!” [this time a good outcry from the room]

All right! Obama told a story about hearing this cry from a woman in a small town he visited. He showed up for a campaign meeting with about twenty people present. While he waited, he kept hearing a sound, at first in the background, then louder and louder. A lady was saying, “Are you fired up?” Then someone would say, “Ready to go!”

The cry mounted. A small group of loyal campaigners lifting spirit.

 

Chapter One: The First Seminar

ePub

As is the custom of the NYU Contemplative Studies Project, we will begin with a short meditation, here a little guided meditation, a little quiet time in the beginning. I will speak some words. If you're inclined, let them run through you. Feel them, taste them.

[Spoken slowly, many pauses]

There is a great radiance in this room, a light lighter than light.

It pervades your body, all through you. It is your body.

Light beyond light. So bright it can't be seen.

An invisible light, your light.

Light everywhere.

There is a great darkness in this room.

Darkness darker than dark.

It pervades your soul. It is your soul.

A loving darkness.

A loving darkness that light can't dim.

You are darkness, darker than dark.

You are light, lighter than light.

Sit for some moments, held by the quiet of the dark and the glow of the light.

[During the guided meditation, someone came in late.]

It is fitting that we began with an interruption. Interruption is part of beginning. Interruptions are part of the path.

If there is one thing I am good at, it is saying the obvious. I have a love of the obvious. I have a hunch today, whatever we do, it will all be very obvious. When I was a child, I loved hearing the same stories over and over. As an adult, I love reading the same passages over and over. So, I am a friend of the obvious, a lover of the obvious.

 

Chapter Two: The Second Seminar

ePub

It's been a wild few weeks here—a hurricane, a nor'easter, a presidential election. So much damage, so much hope. How many people here saw Obama's last or near last campaign speech where he repeatedly says, “Are you fired up?” Three people? There won't be too much of a response then, but we'll try.

“Are you fired up?”

“Ready to go!” [a few people said, more whisper than shout.]

You're supposed to say, “Ready to go!” Let's try it again.

“Are you fired up? Are you fired up?!” [laughter]

“Ready to go!” [this time a good outcry from the room]

All right! Obama told a story about hearing this cry from a woman in a small town he visited. He showed up for a campaign meeting with about twenty people present. While he waited, he kept hearing a sound, at first in the background, then louder and louder. A lady was saying, “Are you fired up?” Then someone would say, “Ready to go!” The cry mounted. A small group of loyal campaigners lifting spirit.

The Kabbalah has passages about creating reality with words. During the presidential campaign, I would feel how one side or another would try to shape reality with words. There were times when alternating views of reality seemed invincible. There are moments you lose track that these are just people making up things, trying to convince you of one position or another. Yet, things you make up have consequences. Like the group that kept insisting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was a threat to our country. Many people were killed and maimed as a consequence of such a vision (Eigen, 2006b).

 

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