Obstacles and Desires

David Krueger, M.D.

Some time ago I saw a cartoon of a dog straining at its leash, barking ferociously at a cat, as if to say, “Just lemme at ‘em.”  The cat wasn’t too shabby – actually looked mean – and was at least as big as the dog.  All of a sudden in the middle of a ferocious bark, the leash snapped so the dog was free to go after the cat.  He looked astonished.  Scared to death.  He quickly grabbed the leash, ran back and tied a triple knot.  Then, he could again safely strain at the leash and bark his fiery, “Just lemme at ‘em.”

Every story of an obstacle has a shadow story of desire.  The obstacle packs up and conceals the desire.  What you seek is camouflaged in what you fear.  Let me repeat that sentence:  Show me an obstacle, and I’ll show you a desire.

There’s a secret hiding in the open here.  An obstacle is the unconscious mnemonic of desire – it reminds you of what you want, but makes it safe to want if you’re afraid.

When viewing a scene in a film you don’t want to see, you cover your face with your hands as if to say, “No, I don’t want to look.”  But then the desire creeps in and you peek through your fingers at what you’re drawn to see.  The obstacle makes looking acceptable.

Sometimes we need an obstacle to free a desire.  When the obstacle is unpacked, the forbidden desire also emerges.  When Pandora’s box was opened, all of the evils were released into the world.  Remember the last thing to emerge?  It was hope.

So rather than strategizing to overcome, avoid, or defeat an obstacle, simply consider not creating it.  It’s there when you create it; consider using your energy to generate something else instead.  Like what you really want.

Pay attention to the obstacles that you construct, especially to your vocabulary of impediments.  Worry simply holds onto things, as a form of storage.

When you find yourself focusing on an obstacle (“I can’t find time to exercise”, “I can’t put away any savings”), reflect on the underlying desire.  When you’re ready to consider that you create the obstacle, you’re also ready to consider the possibility of not creating it.

Imagine what it would be like to not create your obstacles.

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