So, precisely how do we get “unstuck”? How do we extricate ourselves from that morass of unconsciousness, that residue of poor decisions that has left our life unmanageable?
There are easy maneuvers such as psychotropic medications. Sometimes simply being tweaked biochemically can create enough personal space for us to get out of ourselves and get beyond our impasse. And simple psychotherapy can be very effective. On that note, it is very important that the therapist must avoid the temptation to “fix” the client, allowing that client to stew in his/her own juices for a while, to “work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.” Karl Jung contended that the therapeutic frame was a crucible and if the process worked correctly, the client would “heat-up” to a boiling point and a break through could be achieved.
But, as noted yesterday with the Shakespeare quotation, ultimately we are all alone with our spiritual battles and must wrestle in solitude with our demons. However, I feel very strongly that therapists, counselors, pastors, and certainly friends must be present to facilitate the catharsis. I think the most important step in alleviating the “stuck-ness” is for the individual to have the humility to admit that he/she is “stuck”; and, I don’t mean some glib conciliation to the concept of being stuck. I mean, for example, the old-fashioned fundamentalist paradigm, “I am a lost sinner” or the 12-step “I am powerless before my addiction” or “out of control” schemata. It is necessary to realize and feel that one is out of control and that all of the rational, ego-based perambulations one can muster up will not suffice. It is not a matter of “figuring out” anything. It is a matter of trusting someone…and ultimately trusting a Source, or a Higher Power, or God or, in the words of Nikos Kazantzakis, “Surrendering to a rhythm not our own.” It is a matter of humility. And humility comes hard to the ego. I think “stuck-ness” like all other human spiritual maladies is an issue of the ego.
A caveat is necessary. I don’t think getting un-stuck is a simple one-time and your done phenomena. I think we get through one episode of “stuck-ness” and later run into another one, and another one, and another one. That has certainly been the case with me. I think there is a sense in which we always find ourselves “stuck”…in reality, with all its limitations. The issue is discerning which of these limitations we can live with and which ones we must wrestle with and get beyond to some degree.
I have one very readable book to recommend on the subject, How People Change by Allen Wheelis.