(originally posted August 3rd, 2008)
I remember reading an article in The New York Times Magazine several years ago, an interview with the psychoanalyst who was the editor for the new edition of The Complete Works of Sigmund Freud that is being re-issued. I forget his name at the moment; the article had much to say about the re-interpretation of Freud’s work and its relevance but the last line of the article riveted me; “You have to learn to love what you don’t like.” I’ve pondered this quote often and its inherent paradox.
Here’s how I understand the essence of this dictum. In life, the things we don’t like or have resistance to doing are often "places" that need unearthing. Sure some things are just preferences, the apples and oranges question; others are reflective of a darker, (and thus more fertile) opportunity to discover the mastery that comes when we challenge and push through. I call this process, “mining the shadow.”
An example from own life is my relationship with the computer. I’ve had great resistance to entering the digital world which I “covered” for a long time with various judgmental attitudes, feeling perfectly justified and yet knowing in my more honest moments that I was fearful of confronting a way of working and thinking that is inherently difficult for me. Being more a symbolic thinker than linear, I prefer to “intuit” answers. Following a series of linear steps, remembering a sequence based on logic is difficult for me to remember unless I repeat it many times over until my mind becomes “entrained”….even then if time passes and I attempt the application again, my mind draws a blank (and then “the brain worm” of odd panic) sets in, making it even more difficult to retrieve the steps. We all have different facilities, talents and limitations.
What finally motivates us to surmount our resistances? Well, Love finally. In regards to learning computer language, I love the opportunity it provides to create audience, something I am seeking for my own work. But more than just that….in confronting our judgments and working to achieve mastery in a place of resistance, we enlarge our being, becoming receptive, gracious, compassionate.. more able to receive others in their limitations and fears.
It surprises me that in learning to love the language of the computer, I find myself led back to deeper “commerce” with myself and others. I can love the practice of meeting resistance with inquiry and practice, at least on a good day....