Saturday, September 7, 2013

Magical Thinking

During a particularly low period in my life some 40 years ago I found myself, in  desperation, seated in a pew in the small right-hand chapel of the cathedral in Lotus City. I was by myself. I had been, for a number of months, wrestling fruitlessly with the perceived and the unperceived causes of my despair. The blackness of a mood alters reason and logic, that under ordinary circumstance allows clear-sighted appraisal of one's state of being and a way forward. Such, had not been available to me during the time of my struggle. The ennui of the melancholic magnifies the perceived, hides resolutely the unperceived and renders invisible the knob to the door that allows one to move forward. Since magical thinking as a symptom, as decreed by our psychiatric colleagues, all of us in the medical profession, or at least most of us, are fearful of the inner madness that magical thinking will imply if we seek that solution or confess that pathway. In classical Greece, the Stoics, of which Plato was the preeminent member, believed that continuing illness was due to lack of virtue, and the quasi healing temples of Asklepios required the assuaging of the ill-will of the gods before healing could occur. As I sat in the pew in my disassociated state, trying to focus on the space I had come to, I tried to pray but nothing would come. I looked up from prayer and the large crucifix over the small alter contained the bleeding and dying figure of Christ. As I studied this image it occured  to me that when you don't know how to pray, as He had said to his disciples, pray what is now called, The Lord's Prayer. As I mumbled the words to the Lord's prayer I came to the sentence that says, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us." I stumbled forward and found the knob on the door. My urgent need was to forgive my mother and dad and I drove to their home and hugged and cried with them as we healed one another. I equated forgiveness and redemption that day. We must know what message is given by whom and where and when magical thinking can be judged by its fruits.

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