Bert’s therapy: Yellow brick road

“If I know I’m crazy, does that mean I’m not?”

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Interesting question.  Why do you ask?

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I’m not asking, I’m quoting.  Just read that in a book.

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Psychology book?

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Mystery novel.  About a Thai cop trying to solve a Silence of the Lambs-type murder and practice Buddhism at the same time.* 

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And does your Buddhist cop answer the question?

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Not yet.  Can you?

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Yes.  No.

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No, knowing I’m crazy doesn’t mean that I’m not?

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Right.

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Why not?

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Does finding a hole in your tooth make the cavity disappear?

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No.  

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Same thing.  We like to pretend we can think our way out of emotional problems.  But recovery takes work. 

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What kind of work?

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Uncomfortable work, usually.

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But why?

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Emotional problems tend to come from avoiding emotional discomfort.   So discomfort is the price of recovery.    

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Discomfort as in…

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Accepting our limitations.  Taking risks.  Becoming honest.  That sort of thing.

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Like practicing the alternatives to control.

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Exactly.  Those all involve tolerating some new discomfort. 

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I’d rather skip the discomfort.

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Most people feel that way.  Look around you.  Met many healthy people lately?

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Not many, no.  But when does it end?

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Recovery work?

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Yeah.

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If you’re doing it right, never.  You just keep growing until you die.

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Never?  There’s no graduation, no Nirvana to attain, no Emerald City you reach?

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Nope.  Just the yellow brick road.

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Great.  So what now?

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You choose, basically.  Keep trying to avoid life’s discomfort, like most people do, or…

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Learn to love the yellow brick road.

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Right.

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Can I get back to you on this?

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therapist (16)

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* * * * * 3* * * * * ** * *

*The mystery Bert’s reading is The Godfather of Kathmandu by John Burdett (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).

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Want more?

This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.

Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degress, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree….

Some of us will go to quite extraordinary lengths to avoid our problems and the suffering they cause, proceeding far afield from all that is clearly good and sensible in order to try to find an easy way out, building the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the the total exclusion of reality.  In the succinctly elegant worlds of Carl Jung, “Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.”

But the substitute ultimately becomes more painful than the legitimate suffering it was designed to avoid.

~ M. Scott Peck, reading from The Road Less Traveled: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxIjuJhQXC4

 

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5 responses to “Bert’s therapy: Yellow brick road

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