Minds in Unison

My new reading partner didn’t know that I was a patient in psychoanalysis. I’ll tell him soon enough, I thought, and besides, why should it matter to him? We didn’t meet once a week to analyze each other’s dreams or other unconscious communications. Yet, knowing that I hadn’t told him, that I hadn’t told him for a reason that remained unknown to me, made me more anxious than usual. This was new what we were doing, meeting at a somewhat quiet coffee shop to read and talk about a challenging text we’d decided to study together. I was new to this kind of enterprise; he wasn’t. Why did I describe him in the opening sentence as my reading partner? I’d never studied a text with one other person before. And probably what made me most anxious was that he was much more familiar with this author and psychological thinker than I was. In fact, he’d studied the writings of Carl Jung for years, as part of his training to become a Jungian psychoanalyst. So why was he studying with me? Actually, today was only the second time we’d met, and it was supposed to be the first time that we would discuss one of Jung’s papers. It was Jonathan’s idea that we select a particular Jungian theme and then choose papers that Jung had written on that subject. As if our minds were working in unison at that particular moment, Jonathan and I agreed that active imagination should be the Jungian theme we would study first. When today’s session – I meant to write meeting – started, I wanted to tell him that I was in psychoanalysis with a clinician who approached her work with clients and patients in probably a much different way than he, Jonathan, did. For some reason, the word psychoanalysis wasn’t mentioned. Before either of us could utter a word about the first text of Jung’s on active imagination that we’d selected, I found myself speaking about unexpected things. Why did I say that neither of my parents ever allowed themselves to have this kind of reading experience with another? Jonathan didn’t interrupt me. I spoke for several minutes. Then I was ready to focus on the text. Jonathan nodded, and we began.

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