Many on the right or left of the political spectrum are dealing with minor to serious anxiety about the upcoming presidential election. The question on how to deal with this anxiety was brought to group a analysts during a wonderful seminar from the Asheville Jung Center about this election. (http://ashevillejungcenter.org) There were no clear answers, so I wanted to add my voice to this question and hope for responses from each of you.
One reason this question is difficult is that each of us are unique, how an event creates anxiety depends on our temperament and personal psychodynamics. In the contemplative phase of therapy this comes clear for each of us. An increased stability results from internalizing the nonjudgmental listening presence of the therapist helping each form a better container for our inner world and anxieties.
As a 6 enneatype I have a natural proclivity towards anxiety that has been present all my life. From the ages of 0 to 14 months my mother had a postpartum depression and I was neglected. I would bang my head and then be spanked. At the age of 14 months I was spanked so hard there were blisters and I stopped reaching out. My temperament and these adverse events formed deep implicit memories. The threat of potential danger in the environment can activate my implicit memories and Donald Trump has been a wonderful trigger.
In the action phase of therapy I often find clients want self-regulation practices to supplement their increase ability of containment and self soothing they have developed through the therapeutic relationship. I have been a long time meditator as well as working with self inquiry and was attempting to use these tools with little to no avail. As I sat with my anxiety the other morning I begin to breathe it gently into my heart, holding it with compassion and love. I began to experience a deep fear of death and dying, fantasies of concentration camps for progresses who opposed the Trump administration arising on a mental level.
As I sat with the fear of dying, open myself fully to it, something begin to relax deeply. I remembered two practices around death from the Blooming of a Lotus by the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh. In one (#11) I went though the various stages of the decomposition of the corpse finally dissolving into dust. In the other (#15) I face the realities of abandoning all that I cherish in growing old, with the knowledge that there is no escape from this process, finally recognizing my actions are my true belongings. Facing clearly the possibility of death allowed as the Sufi’s say “to die before death.” I felt something in my ego identity soften, the larger gamma wave function of the fullness of consciousness holding the smaller fragments of my scared infant complex, allowing a deeper sense of confidence in facing whatever may come in my life, even the possibility of death.
What are each of you discovering about how to work with the anxieties in self and others triggered by the upcoming elections.