You and I have secrets so well hidden in dark corners of our psyche; the only chance of discovery is us bumping into them through some synchronistic event. Angels may be involved. Secrets keep us under a spell, just like we get needy for the absent puzzle pieces that prevent a scene from completion, which nags on our sense of cohesion. Depending on the temperament of any given day this can result in restlessness, procrastination, or apathy. The pieces exist, we know that much. But in our lives the missing pieces represent holes, patches of nothingness that beg to be filled. And some will never be filled, unless imagination enters like a grace, and offers fresh possibilities.
Beneath this yearning for cohesion chimes a faint drone. From that drone a vague theme, image or a melody we can’t place may arrive from nowhere, persisting in teasing us.
I sum this sensation up as ‘waiting.’ Waiting for the fog to clear, waiting for a connection, a response to a question, waiting for a birth, waiting for a death, waiting for the heart’s eye to light up, waiting for inspiration, waiting for a door to open, a hint … like in Samuel Beckett’s absurd play, ‘Waiting for Godot,’ where the passive Estragon and the impatient Vladimir are adrift in their minds, hoping for a meaningful sign. Some early viewers angrily left the theater. Maybe it annoyed them that the play exposes the absurd inner dialogues everyone experiences at times. Critics have voiced fascinating interpretations. For me, the philosophical variance between Aristotle and Plato comes to mind.
Years ago, my dear Sufi friend/teacher, Fazal Inayat-Khan, introduced the term ‘psychogenic secret’ during a workshop he instigated. The term could be understood as the distorted or buried memory of an incident that compels our behaviour in ways we cannot fathom. Consequently, shadowy aspects of our personality may appear in relationships, when others see us in ways we cannot comprehend. Consistency upholds our mental habits until their significance wears down. But once we discover and acknowledge a twist in our interpretation of relational events, a thread will untangle and jingle the famed ‘aha moment.’
It is tricky to share a personal experience, though an example of twisted psychology is in order here. Far back, at primary school, a triangle of girls was jealous of me for having as friend and neighbour the favourite boy in our class. He had train sets and lots of Enid Blyton books. They alleged I had been stealing stuff from their and other pupils’ desks. Their concerted accusation required me to empty my schoolbag in front of the head teacher and the whole class. The crafty girls had planted a fancy pencil, a sharpener, a metal ruler and a pop-star image between my notebooks. The items were quickly claimed by their owners. Disputing the abhorrent deed was hopeless. I felt deeply humiliated. And my parents were unable to refute the evidence. The insult sunk deep and festered.
Much later, during student years, I casually stole a chunk of butter from a shop to round up a meal for friends. Observing my lack of conscience, and the ease, even pleasure, with which I stole the butter mortified and shamed me. It took a while to process my turmoil until I drew the connection which stopped me in my track towards becoming a bank robber with supernatural powers … I realised it was my irrational comeuppance, a kind of revenge for being once wrongly blamed and shamed.
My example might spark your imagination. Intricacies as to how psychogenic secrets can operate, be they based on humiliation, small or big traumas and betrayals, frequently appear in fairy tales, stories, novels, including mine, notably in the forthcoming sequel to Course of Mirrors, ‘Shapers,’ to be released in spring.
I’ve learned to tolerate psychogenic secrets I’m ignorant of, the holes in my life, by allowing my dreamer to use the empty patches as frames for stories that humour the unknown.
4 responses to “… psychogenic secrets …”
Thank you Ashen…..and Happy New Year!
Such perfidious behaviour by your three class-mates! One has to wonder what kind of inner pain each of them was in to want to inflict such pain on you……what “psychogenic secrets” was each of them harbouring already at such a young age? I guess we all carry veritable caverns-full of them.
I remember back in 1985, at the height of the soccer hooliganism associated particularly with England supporters, (which co-incidentally was in the middle of the Thatcher era) our teacher, Fazal, asking aloud……”what is their pain?” I am tempted to ask the same question about Brexit……and many other mass and individual behaviours of course.
What is the pain which is probably driving so many of our actions?
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Thanks, Rob. A happy New Year to you, too.
It’s the grail questions … ‘What ails thee?’ … Ever relevant because the pain of injuries gets handed down from generation to generation. We’re probably each born with the psychogenic secrets of our parents, making us vessels for projections we can’t make sense of. It works in totally mysterious ways, and may even hold the key to our purpose in life, the challenge to knock us in that direction, anyway.
I shared before that a teacher once read aloud and praised an essay of mine, only to add that she did not think I wrote this by myself. It took me decades to enjoy writing again.
Such instances are not at all rare.
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Ashen, I am SO sorry for what those kids did to you. I as tall so Kids made fun of me, plus due to issues in my family I was always trying to hide who I am. I wish I knew THEN what I know now. Family is not always blood related, it is the people who support your ideas and thinking. You have started the New Year with an EXCELLENT start!! I totally relate!
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Thank you, and blessings, Gwynn, for the New Year ☼
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