The Cattle and the Field

I have been reading an interesting book: “A Healing Space” by Matt Licata. A quote:

“Generally speaking, tending to the context or ground of our experience but not explicitly exploring the content. its qualities, and meanings is the invitation from the meditative traditions, whereas unpacking, unfolding, and embracing the content itself and the potential wisdom it contains is that of the alchemical or depth psychological approaches.” (p. 128-129)

I think of it as a wide open field with lots of cattle. Zen is all about the field. Is it sunny, cloudy, breezy, still? The field is where everything happens and yet is untouched by it. It is space.

Psychotherapy is about the cattle. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (which does not impress me in the least, having had a lifetime of it) is about how to handle the behavior of the cattle in creative, less-destructive ways. Psychoanalysis, on the other hand, is more about learning to love the cattle, befriend them, understand where they came from, and heal any injuries to them. Trying to kill them is like some archetypal nightmare/joke where you slice them into smaller pieces and that only multiplies them infinitely because the pieces are simply miniature, completely whole versions of the originals. Reality is so holographic.

Such self-directed violence is the birthplace of addictions. “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate is all about the societal impact of addictions and the potential, more compassionate solutions to end the insanity of “the war on drugs.” Trauma is the origin of self-destructiveness and addiction. We understand that now, but we have yet to even begin unpacking its implications for individuals, groups, and society as a whole.

Reality is like a never-ending compromise. I have my issues. Work has its issues. The interactions between my issues and Goodwill’s issues is fascinating, but the compromises are in-your-face. I am the back-up cashier. This is what I wanted. Be careful what you ask for. I don’t think I am a fabulous back-up cashier. My hearing is not great and I can be easily overwhelmed. But I am all they have. When the opening cashier leaves at one and the closing cashier doesn’t arrive until three, I’m all they’ve got. I’m it. Nobody is applying. You can’t hire people that don’t apply.

So I am trying to figure out what I can contribute to this world. My job is perfect for now because it is not brain surgery and I can use any extra available brain power for healing. I get so overwhelmed sometimes. Every little thing triggers the inner response of ,”OMG. What am I supposed to do now?” It is pure trauma flashback. And the weather–not helping. It actually snowed last Wednesday, during the day, not overnight like you might expect in late April. But I am slowly learning to love the cattle. I am getting there. It is quite the process.

About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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