WHILE SITTING IN THE DARK TONIGHT

When I was in graduate school I read The Symbolic and the Real  by Ira Progoff  (McGraw-Hill, 1963), and it had a tremendous effect on me, and I think was  responsible for my becoming  friends with my unconscious–or psyche, as he would call it.

Before that, in beginning therapy, I recall being asked about my fantasies, whereupon I said I never had fantasies. I came to understand that I had them, but didn’t take notice or recognize them.  When I read Progoff, I came to recognize that deeper than fantasies were images.  Progoff describes this process as follows:

“In the method of twilight imaging,  the individual relaxes, closes his eyes, and permits himself to observe and describe the flow of imagery that flows upon the screen of his mind’s eye.  This flow, which is the faculty of the image-making process of the psyche, is kaleidoscopic.  It simply moves on, presenting itself in one form after another.  Its energy is not integrated, but moves with no  cohering principle, until a pattern is formed  by the formless flow of the imagery itself.  This is the “pure” process of the psyche.  To the degree that it is not induced by any selfconscious attitudes, the pattern that is formed and dramatized is an authentic expression of the psyche and reflects what is taking place at its unobservable levels.  The free flow of imagery thus becomes a channel by which the inarticulate depths of the person can communicate to consciousness the problems and the aspirations involved in reaching a fuller integration.” (p. 92)

Earlier this evening, while sitting in the dark after Spectrum had turned itself off,  An image came to me of  a giant walking past my  patio window. I only imaged his huge feet tromping by,  mashing things underfoot, and I was reminded of him stalking from the hurricanes of the southeast to the wildfires of the west coast.  (How ethnocentric–I am  largely ignorant of the details of the earthquakes and tsunamis and plane crashes abroad).

I reflected on the image of the giant stalking the land and climate change, and realized that prior to language there were silent images which issued from the protoplasm of the ancients.  And then I found Progoff’s book on my shelf after turning on the light, and came to my computer to share.

 

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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2 Responses to WHILE SITTING IN THE DARK TONIGHT

  1. Thank you for your vision. You are a national resource.

    Like

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