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January 16, 2006

 

Calm Solitude: Light Reflections


Calm Solitude: Light Reflections
Heck..."the sound and the fury" of the holiday season is behind us, and many are in need of a sense of calm and relaxation. Cognitive behaviorists describe relaxation in terms of a set of "scientific" procedures, such as tensing and then relaxing one's muscles, meditation, breathing exercises and self-hypnotic measures.

In other words, for the behaviorists, the procedure (relaxation) always precedes feelings of release from distress. Avoiding the uncertainty and ambiguity of life, they purport to have laid claim to a scientific truth, specifically that conditioning is the "royal road" to the alleviation of emotional torment.

However, this "truth" can be viewed from other, as good as or possibly even better, perspectives. For example, "There could be certain forms of calm that can be attained without first going through the state of relaxation. Moreover, it may well be that those particular styles of feeling calm at the same time supply the sense of relaxation," (Author, 2006). I'm sure that readers can think of many other rich perspectives regarding the "truth" of behavioral conditioning (i.e., that mechanical procedures are preeminent when compared to human emotional life).

For myself, with regard to the sense of calming relaxation, I prefer the more human process of self-reflection, while interacting with pastoral scenes. The picture above is one example of those images. At first, I was going to present three pictures related to "feeling calm."

Then I realized that, although of the same emotional genre, the pictures displayed markedly contrasting states of feeling calm: (1) a calm solitude engendering periods of light reflection; (2) a lively, bright and colorfully emotional sense of calm; and (3)a sense of calm associated with one's ongoing experiences of dialectical tension between the wish to express or gratify primary wishes and feelings, in juxtaposition, responding to a bidding to control them.

The latter dimension, the wish to constrain primary gratifications, can lead to a sense of satisfying self-confidence, which is derived from feeling sturdy and resilient regarding the ability to control them.

I have written this little piece as tightly as possible (for now), hoping that it would evoke further thought for you. To conclude, I have chosen to share the picture that for me creates an experience that represents a calm sense of solitude, which engenders periods of light reflection. I will be extremely pleased if it provides you with a moment, if only just a moment, of restfully peaceful calm, along with feeling of relaxation.

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