When asked what is the goal of psychoanalysis, an older and more sanguine Freud replied psychoanalysis aims at turning extraordinary psychological misery into ordinary human suffering. Psychoanalysis accomplishes this by sifting through the patientʼs unconscious oedipal complex to uncover the ages four to seven year old childʼs singular obsession to displace their same-sexed parent from the marital bed. Love, romance, sexual and procreative vanquishment of the hated rival parent is the mythic life and death competition that drives the child. Once observing ego gains this insight, the object of desire can be surrendered and sublimated into a full adult life of love, work and play. In taming desire we no longer need the painful neurotic defenses and symptoms created by our overly critical superego (conscience) to pay the ransom for forbidden incestuous victory.

Buddhism also characterizes desire as the enemy of a peaceful mind. Once again, insight gained through detached meditative observation can free us from the suffering of a life full of insatiable and omnipotent cravings. Buddhism transcends Freudʼs individual psychological freedom by teaching us to empty our mind of our karmic unconscious. We then sense our connection to universal source energy which creates, destroys and gives birth to all.

Thus all healing derives from the seeming paradox of both accepting and relinquishing the objects of our greatest desires. This singular painful truth is as humbling as it is liberating. Patient and healer are united through a luminous compassion as we strive to discover ways we may honor each other.

Freud and the Buddha