Friday, November 16, 2012

Discomfort with Closeness, Strong feelings, & Meditation

     Many people, particularly male physicians and dentists, have "marked discomfort with closeness and an even more marked reluctance to acknowledge this discomfort or deal openly with it. Such tendencies are particularly prominent among those who have compulsive personalities, in which difficulty with the management of strong feelings, both positive and negative, is a central feature."        Gabbard GO, Menninger RW. "The psychology of postponement in the medical marriage." JAMA 1989; 261(16): 2378-81.

      One of the determinants of the choice of the medical profession may be to defend against the horrible existential dread associated with feelings of impotence in the face of one's own ultimate death. ... another grand paradox on which to reflect is that those individuals who are so vulnerable to feelings of helplessness choose a profession where they are repeatedly reminded of their inherent impotence in the face of disease and death."
       Gabbard GO. "The role of compulsiveness in the normal physician." JAMA 1985; 254(20): 2926-9.

“Life and death are not, as they say, rocket science. We can all understand them because we all can, and must, experience them. When we take up meditation or go into therapy, at the most basic level, we are looking for a way to cope with the fact of impermanence, which ultimately comes down to the fact of our mortality. At first, we inevitably try to deny it, control it, or avoid it. Eventually, if we stay with a real practice of emotional honesty and awareness … we may discover the joy that underlies life as it is – this fleeting, ungraspable, uncontrollable life-as-it-is.”
        Magid B. "Ending the pursuit of happiness – a Zen guide." Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2008.

Photo: Suhdeep Mehta

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