Individual and Couple Therapy
in Tacoma and Seattle

Tacoma Office near Proctor District

35th & N. Cheyenne St

Ample Free Parking

Tacoma Detailed Directions

 

Seattle Office on Greenlake

Greenlake Wellness Group

7900 East Green Lake Drive North, Suite 202

Free Convenient Parking

Greenlake Office Detailed Directions

 

(253) 304-1411

parke@parkeburgess.com



Click the appropriate button below to see what appointments are currently available. Please contact me by email or phone before scheduling a first appointment. I am unable to see new clients without some preliminary discussion. Thank you.

TACOMA APPOINTMENTS

SEATTLE APPOINTMENTS

Existing clients may use the Paypal button below to pre-pay for an upcoming scheduled session.

 

« Trusting the Body | Main | Guide to Past Posts »
Friday
Jun092017

Living Deep

There are various modes of living. Some of these are: merely surviving, living between, surface living, and living deep. When we’re in crisis we struggle just to get through to the next day or the next pay check. We are not really living but merely surviving. This can be extended for long periods, even whole lifetimes. Another mode is to defer living right now because we are focused on a past that we have lost or a future that we have not yet gained. In this case, we are living between the present and some other time. Or we can devote ourselves to seeking pleasure and avoiding pain more or less all the time. This is a kind of living in the present, but lures us into constructing a kind of extreme present as if every moment could be a peak experience. Ironically, the highs and lows of such a life become compressed into a kind of grim monotony that grinds away at the surface of living.

And then there is living deep, so called because it offers a dimension of depth lacking in the other modes just described. Even in crisis, instead of merely surviving, where we flail and flounder at the surface of our situation, we find it within ourselves to step back from our situation and see it from a new height, a broader perspective. From this vantage, our crisis likely becomes smaller. We can see it not as an interruption of living but as living itself in all its beauteous and horrific splendor.

Those living between, locked in a lost past or a wanted future, live as if time were strictly linear, as if we could be trapped at a point on a timeline. When living deep we see that time, like space, has both a horizontal and a vertical axis. We live deep when we enjoy the bittersweetness of loss; when the ecstasies of past living uplift us and fill us with sorrow and offer dimension and wisdom to our sense of living in time. We live deep when the longings and fears for the future add tartness and tang to our living now, bringing dimension to our sense of the present moment. Thus, to live deep is to live fully in the present but not in a way that excludes other times and places. Somehow living deep makes room for them all.

Surface living aspires to get the most out of every moment but usually operates along a single dimension indexed to neural floods of dopamine and endogenous opioids. Focused only on thrills and success, this approach misses most of human experience. Living deep, by contrast, revels in nuance, mixed feelings, and mystery. It does not divide the world into good or bad, fun or boring. Instead, it finds wonder in anything and everything, as the unique and miraculous expression of what is.

Living deep is an embodied kind of living in which all that arises is felt bodily and is allowed to inhabit our body for as long as it remains salient. This includes what feels good and what feels bad. But we don’t get stuck there. This way of living already includes a radical dynamism because it makes room for whatever freshly forms. In this way, what came before is always made new. Living deep is thus the active opposite of stuckness. Instead of getting locked into old patterns, we allow the natural dynamism of experience to breathe in new life and offer new possibilities.

Living deep can be difficult but is always available. We don’t have to wait for favorable circumstances. All the great sages have taught, just as Viktor Frankl discovered amidst the horror of the Nazi concentration camps, that living deep is not only possible in the worst of circumstances but is then more crucial than ever.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>