Psychology + Zen = Philosophy and methods to relieve suffering and reveal happiness.

Psychology:  We project onto others what we reject in ourselves.  Some call it a Shadow.  Healing comes from making the unconscious conscious, taking responsibility for our projections, integrating what is split off as our own thing. 

Zen:  There is no separate self.  When we can be at one with every aspect, then we belong everywhere and we reject no one.  

We heal the world by becoming intimate with our whole selves.   

Entries in Atonement (7)


The Bomb, the Family, and the Fundamental Attribution Error

I'm glad he's ok."  "What a relief!"  "So glad your family escaped the horror."    Photo by Aaron "tango" Tang, courtesy of Creative Commons

Finishing the Boston Marathon 50 minutes before the blast, my ex-husband and father of my beloved child was well clear of the bomb that killed three, seriously injured many, and scared the crap out of a whole bunch more.  Trauma proliferated as we shook our heads and huddled with our families.  Thank G-d it wasn't us.

 But it was.  

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Hurricane Hits: The Movie

Struck by the juxtapostion of gigantic problems and tiny but important personal problems, I made this offering.   For New York City, October 2012.  



Michael Jackson, The Whole Man

Is it good manners?   Is it out of some sense of politeness that every column I've read about Michael Jackson makes a brief bow to the latter half of his life, then moves on to massage every detail of his splendid, brilliant early career?   As in: whatever you want to say about the weird thing he became, you have to appreciate how he electrified the world with Thriller.*   Is it good manners or is it that we don't want to face what his gruesome demise might say about us?  About our culture, I could say, except we can't just dis the culture without taking some responsibility.

How do we understand what happened to him? 

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Reading "Henrietta Lacks"

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:47PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks might be the saddest book I've ever read.   If you don't know this story, here's the bottom line:  A Black woman's cancer cells were taken and cultured without her permission and, because of their superhuman ability to thrive, spawned all variety of discovery and cure.  She died, her disease almost neglected; her family remains dirt poor and deeply uneducated.  In the absence of information from the scientists who benefited from Henrietta's cells, the family creates stories of heroism or victimization, depending on what's going on that day.  What is usually going on is a fight for survival against overwhelming odds.

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Department of Defense

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:52PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

Three bikes already stolen, and yesterday, one mangled beyond rideability.   If I knew who the enemy was, I'd sign up for the war!

Moving to the city last winter from our little village of Nyack, the family warmed to the sight of all the bicycles zipping around the city.  So, we brought our bikes over, chained them to a fence near our apartment in Washington Heights.  No dummies, we purchased good city locks and worried a little but not too much.  Well....first, mine was taken by someone who cut the fence to which it was attached.    I was hurt, put a sign up saying "hey, if you really needed a bike, you could have asked me for it."   But I got a new one--it was an old bike anyway.  Chained the new one to a better pole, where it survived one day before disappearing without a trace.  Next, my daughter's mountain bike fell prey to the dark force of greed.  

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Picking up the Other Dog's Poop

I have a dog. My dog poops.  So do the other dogs. People get mad at dogs because their owners leave the poop under their shoes.

I love my dog and want him to be accepted by the community. So, I help him out if I pick up the other dogs' poops, the ones just waiting to slide under your shoe. But I can't bring myself to do it...well, once I did, because I wanted to be able to brag on this site. Is that a worthy reason? 

What will it take for us to take responsibility for each other? Self interest? Wisdom? Empathy? Enough poop on our shoes?   (12/17/08)


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The Monster

In the moments before ballet class was to begin, I was hanging over my legs, trying to find the inner awareness of my spine.  Suddenly, improbably, I felt another body in my space--an intruder!  I quickly rolled up to encounter a grotesque face, and it was actually asking me to take a step back to make room for her.   I concealed my horror and annoyance (I think), and tried to explain that she was not in a good position, having encroached also on the person in front of her, who had nowhere to go.    She didn't understand and I gave up, insuring that I would encounter her at close quarters for the remainder of the class.

Soon it became very clear that she didn't have the least idea of what to do.   If she was lucky, she'd get a fraction of each exercise, but mostly she would stand and shuffle in that panicked way that beginners do.  Please understand that I am normally very very sympathetic to this state of being, because that is almost always my condition. 

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