Empty Container

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Full                           -                    Empty
Closed                      -                    Open
Actual                       -                    Potential
Order                        -                    Chaos
Mono                         -                    Poly


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[...] eschewing the use of the language of the senses (the language of substitution: images or representations) [he] sought a way for the analyst to approximate the meditative-like stance of the infant's mother

-  to shut out all stimuli from within the analyst (memory, desire, preconceptions, understanding) in order to be optimally receptive to the subverbal emanations of the emotional being-in-flux of the patient.

He frequently exhorted the analyst to abandon memory and desire as well as preconceptions and understanding, the derivatives of sensation, so as to avoid being misled by images or symbols that, though they represent the object, are not the object experientially.

Only then can the analyst, with much patience - the patience of tolerating uncertainty and doubt - be qualified to become the analysand, or more precisely, become the analysand's state of mind.

In this state of reverie, the analyst has thus become the container of the analysand's projected mental content.

[James S. Grotstein]
A Beam of Intense Darkness: Wilfred Bion's Legacy to Psychoanalysis, p.47-8


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In a psychotherapy session, quite often I feel myself sitting as a stone or a patient or Kannon, rather than as a "therapist," and I think it has a better result. So I easily becomes this or that.

In the therapy session [...] my consciousness is able to experience simultaneously personal and impersonal levels, or a kind of wandering here and there [...] It is almost impossible to verbalize it.

For example, a person says he wants to die immediately. Then my consciousness experiences simultaneously: "Absolutely No!" and "Un-hunh, i understand your feeling," and "Go ahead, if you say so." It is impossible to integrate these.

But then I have learned through such experiences that the most effective way to resolve this "conflict" is to maintain the posture of waiting, holding all the conflicting elements as long as possible.

[Hayao Kawai]
Buddhism and the Art of Psychotherapy, p.98-9, 123


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I was attracted to this work [The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana] because it involves containing contradictions just as they come and not taking the direction of integrating them for resolution.

The logical development of the argument proceeds in a delicate, nonlinear, snake-like, swaying movement, maintaining the double aspect of two conflicting ways.

Izutsu says that, if we try to read the text in one direction, as if it were stretched into a straight line, the idea of the Awakening of the Faith may appear to be full of internal contradictions.

As you read this sutra, you tend to swing one way and then the other, and you wonder which way is right. This sort of experience corresponds to my clinical experience with patients.

The person who teaches Buddhist doctrine emphasizes the wonder of Buddha Mind too heavily and then strongly attacks the delusions of the phenomenal world, which appears to be opposed to the Buddha Mind [...] Probably such a stance is due to a narrow understanding of Buddhism.

My attitude as a psychotherapist is to relate to both the superficial and the deep layers of consciousness at the same time, and to pay attention to the details of external reality but simultaneously place no special importance on any of it. I feel that such a paradoxical attitude is supported by The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana.

[Hayao Kawai]
Buddhism and the Art of Psychotherapy, p.124, 127


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The main thing is that we both get out of the way. What can block the interview is "us," your thinking about what you have to get done here, and my thinking about my own thoughts, opinions, biography, myself.

The "you" and the "me" can prevent the "inter." It's not our views that matter, it's the "inter."

[James Hillman]
Inter Views, p.8

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To appreciate art, the observer must adopt a special attitude of mind; the same attitude required by Plato, of detachment from personal concerns, so that the work of art can be appreciated in contemplative fashion uncontaminated by personal needs or preoccupations.

[Anthony Storr]

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Related posts:-
Escaping Uncertainty
Everything and Nothing
Wishy-washy
Contain Conflict
My Advice? No Advice!
Negative Capability
Entertaining Ideas
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