Thursday, April 2, 2015

Teleconference Note #1

In 1976, Dr. John M. Dorsey, M.D. published his autobiographical sketch An American Psychiatrist in Vienna, 1935-1937 and his Sigmund Freud.  For the previous 15 years Dr. Dorsey had occupied the chair of Wayne State University’s first University Professor.  His professional educational experience began at the University of Iowa from 1918 to 1928 and continued at the University of Michigan from 1928 to 1938, including two years of sabbatical study at the University of Vienna and the Viennese Psychoanalytic Institute.  During this latter period, Dr. Dorsey kept a journal, oriented mostly around his exciting mental growth, associated with his discovery of the rare power of the one and only psychoanalytical rule, namely, free association.

While all of Dr. Dorsey’s scientific works have been purposefully of an autobiographical nature, in this volume, formulated near the end of his life, he provides the key to understanding his numerous books and other writings.  Using description, narrative, and exposition he accounts for all of his meaningful living in terms of his own psychogenesis (mental development).  The close-ups of his chosen self-analyst, Dr. Sigmund Freud, are rare contributions detailing Dr. Dorsey’s sustained efforts to help himself by cultivating his own self-knowledge with this “peerless scholar of the mind.”

As I read through this work I found myself reading three different Dr. Dorsey’s.  Naturally.  First there were entries from his original journal while in Vienna and including insights, which came through his self-analysis with Freud.  Dorsey then was 35 years old and had never undertaken the discipline of free association. But this work, American Psychiatrist, was compiled in the late 1970’s almost 40 years after that life-changing experience, by the Dr. Dorsey, now 76 years old, with 35 years practice of "making the unconscious conscious".  One sees all of the Dr. Dorseys present and working in this work.  Dr. Dorsey had gone to Vienna not intending to become a psychoanalyst, but to further his understanding of psychiatry.  His personal encounter with Freud, however, had powerful and deep meaning for Dorsey who went on to become one of the leading psychoanalysts of his day.

In the preface of this book, Dr. Dorsey records:

Living the spirit of psychoanalytic helpfulness in Vienna saturated my self-identity with its power far beyond what might be understood as resulting from my studying about it, and furthered my practicing myself in free association there…By psychoanalysis here I mean specifically loyal devotion to working with the metapsychological method and insights first worked up by Sigmund Freud. (xiv)

And his preface ends with:

Whoever makes this writing his own will find later on that I learned the lesson that all help must be self-help in the only way possible to learn it effectively, namely, by growing it as precious painful experience of mine.

My most difficult language lesson teaches: My every word can be nothing but my own linguistic growth, despite the fact that I can and do enjoy its functioning as if it is not referring to me at all. *  Therefore, I carefully record: All I can mean by describing Sigmund Freud must really refer to my image of my Sigmund Freud.   (* See my chapter, "Idiolect," in Communication of Scientific Information, ed. Stacey B. Day (Switzerland:S. Karger, Basel, 1975, pp. 12-27)

Elsewhere, Dr. Dorsey describes this awakening to his solipsistic idiolect as his feeling thunderstruck, even humiliated, then experiencing his living as “wide awake” and “extremely sane.”

Now, it has been almost 40 years since his passing, and Dr. Dorsey is not remembered as one of the great psychoanalysts.  Other names such as Menninger, Szasz, Rogers, Maslow, Erikson are bigger ---until just recently.

In 1996, Peter M. Newton, professor of psychology at the Wright Institute, Berkeley, California and his colleague Beate Lohser, member of the Core Faculty a the San Francisco School of Psychology, Berkeley, both practicers of psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy wrote their book, Unorthodox Freud: The View from the Couch.  “Based on existing full-length accounts by patients who were treated by Freud in the 1920s and ‘30s, this volume reveals an unexpected Freud ---one who is quite different from the current stereotype.”

“Contrary to the capricious Freud of in-house clinical lore, the starched Freud of Strachey’s Standard Edition, and the blank screen of traditional orthodoxy, Losher and Newton demonstrate that Freud was explicit about defining the primary task (making the unconscious conscious), directively instituted free association as the means to accomplish the task, and actively monitored his patient’s compliance with it…(thus)”organizing the treatment dyad in terms of its primary task and the division of labor between himself and his patient.”

One of these only 5 book length accounts of intimacy with Freud is Dr. Dorsey’s book, An American Psychiatrist in Vienna, 1935-1937, and His Sigmund Freud.

In her September/October 1980 Laird Letter, Mrs. Laird wrote:

A few years ago I gave a Seminar in Washington, D.C. with the text, “All consciousness is Mind, God, an infinite and not a finite consciousness.”  (Mary Baker Eddy,  Unity of Good, 24:12-16) Two incidents made the Seminar a momentous one.  I had not talked very long when I realized the three women down front were listening with such understanding that my imagination took off beyond the words I had prepared.  The second incident came after the morning session.  A woman in the audience said, “I see you have been reading Living Consciously: The Science of Self.”  “No, I have never heard of it.”  She said it was written by two M.D.’s – a Dr. Dorsey, Dean of the Psychiatry Department of Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan and a Dr. Seegers, Dean of the Physiology Department.  That afternoon she brought me a copy of the book, co-authored by these two eminent physicians, and I was thrilled to find the coincidence of the human and divine expressed in their language.  This reading resulted in sending a copy of the first edition of Christian Science Re-explored to Dr. Dorsey.  The book brought enthusiastic letters from both men, with the comment: “Your phrase, ‘conscious of’ implies a dualism the rest of your book rejects.  How could consciousness be conscious OF something ‘other’ if consciousness is all there is?  The exchange of these books brought a close association with Dr. Dorsey, resulting in his writing the Introduction to the second edition of Christian Science Re-explored.  (There follows in this Laird Letter notes from Dr. Dorsey’s last Adult Education Class which Mrs. Laird says indicates the common ground the Psychology of Self-divinity has with Christian Science.)

When you cannot see what is happening in a group, do not stare harder.  
Relax and look gently with your inner eye.
When you do not understand what a person is saying, do not grasp for every word.  
Give up your efforts. Become silent inside and listen with your deepest self.
When you are puzzled by what you see or hear, do not strive to figure things out.
 Stand back for a moment and become calm.  
When a person is calm, complex events appear simple.
To know what is happening, push less, open out, and be aware.  
See without staring.  Listen quietly rather than listening hard.  
Use intuition and reflection rather than trying to figure things out.
The more you can let go of trying, and the more open and receptive you become, 
the more easily you will know what is happening.
Also, stay in the present.  
The present is more available than either memories of the past or fantasies of the future.
So attend to what is happening now.

(John Heider - The Tao of Leadership – pg. 27)

My Self-consciousness always transcends my “other” reasoning. (A Dorsey insight)

Friday, March 20, 2015

It's Never Too Late to Change Your Mind

Beginning Tuesday, April 7th and continuing on Tuesdays in April, May and June (21, 5th and 19th, 2nd) I will be facilitating a teleconference sponsored by the Institute of Metaphysical Science, La Jolla, CA (formerly the Margaret Laird Foundation).  The title for this discussion is Mind is the Bodybuilder.  Anyone interested is invited to participate.  Information on registering is available online:

The discussion will center on the insights of Dr. John M. Dorsey, M.D. who met Mrs. Laird in 1966 following an exchange of letters and books.  One of the products of their meeting is a CD recording of an seminar featuring Dr. Dorsey speaking the the Laird students meeting in Evanston, Illinois, as a part of their opening session of a 3 day seminar.  (also available from the IMS)

I plan to use this space to present materials to the teleconference participants, as well as using email to send homework, or exercises for self-observation.  If you don't want to participate in the teleconference but would like the materials I generate for it, send me a note with your email address and I'll add you to the group-mail list.  My email address is

Below is a sample.

In 1966 Mrs. Laird, a Christian Science teacher, presented "her" Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science insights to Dr. Dorsey, the head of Psychiatry at Wayne State University, Detroit, who presented Mrs. Laird and her students with "his" Freud and Psychoanalysis insights.  Mrs. Laird had evolved quite beyond the sunday school version of Christian Science, after forcing herself to resign her official status therein, and pursuing independent research into scientific metaphysics.

Dr. Dorsey, in 1966 was looking at retirement, and emeritus status after leading the tremendously successful MacGregor Center, a small 33 bed hospital for training medical professionals in humane "psychological medicine."  Dr. Dorsey was in analysis with Sigmund Freud in Vienna for one year of his sabbatical (1935-1937) and for one year with other key psychoanalytic leaders.  His two sons were in school during that time with Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud, who developed the early theories of childhood development for Psychoanalysis.  Dorsey is one of only five writers who authored a book length account of his time with Freud, which recently has come into the spotlight in a book called Unorthodox Freud.  This book challenges the American psychoanalytic "orthodoxy" and shows how far off from Freud's original insights this movement went.

I have been researching into these two sets of insights for many years now and have found that just looking at the ideas presented creates a dynamic within me that generates new insights into my life and its events.  Not all of these ideas, which I try to consider with open mind, are easy and pleasant.  One of Mrs. Laird's insights which she shares comes from the chapter Crime and Punishment, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

Even like the sun is your god-self;
      It knows not the ways of the mole nor seeks it the holes of the serpent.
      But your god-self does not dwell alone in your being.
      Much in you is still man, and much in you is not yet man,
      But a shapeless pigmy that walks asleep in the mist searching for its own awakening.
And of the man in you would I now speak.
      For it is he and not your god-self nor the pigmy in the mist, that knows crime and the punishment of crime.
      Oftentimes have I heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world.
the wrong-doer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all.
      Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
      You are the way and the wayfarers.
      And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
      Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.
      And this also, though the word lie heavy upon your hearts:
      The murdered is not unaccountable for his own murder, 
      And the robbed is not blameless in being robbed.

The word, indeed, "lies heavy upon our hearts."  It is the grief of the whole world over against the "pygmy in the mist, searching for its own awakening" -- searching for bigness of Self to see justice where we now see injury.

And so -- a question:  What kind of strength of Self must we cultivate or grow or evolve from within ourselves in order to lift the whole weight of humanity UP and not be those who "though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone."  What "bodybuilding" does Mind make us do, consciously or unconsciously?  What are the signs that we are growing stronger in Self?  Peace, peace, when there is no peace?  Or a fire in the belly?  What is the "Wisdom of Passion"?

A question: what is the difference in your spiritual experience and discipline between depression and tranquility?  Does genuine peace of Mind produce lethargy of living?  Dr. Dorsey titles one of his essays: "Self-consciousness or self-hypnosis."  What are the vital signs of my truly growing and extending and expanding my self-conscious allness, my wide awake living to include my whole world in and as my whole self instead of contracting, narrowing and withdrawing my wonderful self into an ever smaller and smaller interior space which I create for my retreat from my increasingly hostile and unfriendly world?  Dr. Dorsey's opus Illness or Allness puts the demand on every individual to see clearly the true meaning of individuality and in that light to be able to "call my soul my own and my all my soul." Only self-love can save our own lost soul.

Question: What Mind muscles do I need to exercise, use 'em or lose 'em, and what are these Mind muscles?  Insight, inspiration, intuition and instinct all expressions of the awesomeness of being ONE including all - the one divine human being, which both Mrs. Laird and Dr. Dorsey discovered was the deep self living in the depths of their own powerful individuality and hidden by their own inconsistent personality.  How we engage the deep self is unimportant.  That we do and keep doing that with increasing self-conscious honesty and clear-eyed inner vision is the task of the scientific spiritual psychologist (metaphysician).

In 1996, Bill Phillips, president of EAS nutritional supplement company, and a former bodybuilder launched the first "Body for Life" competition to the general public.  It challenged overweight, out of shape men and women to transform their physiques following a strict exercise and nutrition regimen.  It has been popularized by a book by the same name.  Phillip's slogan?  "Change your mind, change your body."

In 2009, Dr. Pamela Peake, M.D. published the book Body for Life for Women, using the successful approach of Bill Phillips' original program.

The only reason I present these two authors and their books here, both of which I've used successfully for my own reference and with my personal training clients, is to tell you that in the Pamela Peake book, is the story and the before and after pictures, of a 76-year old woman.  She started the new exercise program in her wheelchair.  She finished it 12 weeks later running!

It's never too late to change your mind.