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 Healing (18)

Wednesday
Jun132012

An Oasis of Peace

Wahat al-Salam Neve ShalomWahat al-Salam in Arabic. Neve Shalom in Hebrew.   Oasis of Peace.  The name evokes both longing and sadness. Just an oasis?   In a human desert of outright wars and subtle destructions of the spirit, there is a place where people from opposing sides of what is arguably the most difficult conflict on earth choose to live in peace.

I wanted to visit this place because I am a very jaded psychologist--an optimist disappointed with the failure of ideals

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Wednesday
Jun062012

My Toe is my Teacher

Part 1:  The Cure

Have you ever had an electric toe?  It's quite an experience, unlike any other pain.  You step on it funny and suddenly a shocking, excruciating pain shoots through the toe into the whole body and the brain contracts in the instant.  It goes away and you think, ok, that was that, and then it happens again.  After several repetitions you become like one of those freaked-out lab mice terrified of the next shock, seeming to have no control.   Except that then you notice that getting tense makes it happen more!

Like other life koans, this was impossible to grasp.  How could I possibly relax into something that made my body involuntarily seize up?

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Tuesday
Jun052012

Yes, but can you wipe your ass?

The first time I heard the question was shortly after I told my rheumatologist about the pain in my knees after tap-dancing for some length of time.  I recall that I was rehearsing for a little showcase.  I recall that I was proud.  I recall that he said: These are not normal knees…of course you are going to have inflammation if you tap-dance.  And a little while later he asked if I have trouble wiping myself.   It's important, obviously.   Tap dancing?   Not so much.

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Tuesday
Jun052012

The Straight Line (La Ligne Droite)

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:30PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

So named for the challenge of running blind in a straight line, this film (at the Reel Abilities fest) features a young, rich, male runner, recently blinded, who encounters a not rich woman recently out of jail.   They are both hard and angry.  In a totally unbelievable moment, he recognizes her as kin.   He--actually his mother--hires the ex-con to guide him as he learns to run again.  Both are guarded, misunderstood, angry.  They fight, become vulnerable to each other, begin to trust.  The interfering mother interferes.   (Don't forget, when you make a movie about heroes, to include either a dead mother or an interfering mother.)   Love blossoms.  Against all odds, he wins the race.  

I braced against the emotional manipulation, my cynicism reinforced by the titles for the hearing impaired:  [soft inspirational music plays].   But gradually, my resistance weakened. 

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Thursday
May312012

Temporary Disability: Shifting Perspective.

Guest Column by Molly White.

I’m lying in the MRI machine, focusing on the slight changes in pitch of each loud pang trying to distract myself from the weight of the situation.  I send myself all the messages that this machine is not.  I tell myself that I am safe, happy and free from pain and I imagine I am surrounded in white light which is protecting me from any harmful magnetic effects of this 20 minute affront, and pretty soon I am relaxed and yes, relatively pain free.photo by TheeErin.

Pain free.  What a concept!  I have a love affair with pain that is both debilitating and self-fulfilling.  It has gone on so long now that when it comes back after a long two or three month absence I almost welcome it like an old and familiar lover.  Perhaps he knocks on my door and I don’t have the heart to turn him away, so reluctantly I let him stay taking up the space and eating my groceries.  With the pain there, I am forced to lie down to experience any relief, so I resign myself, I drop my projects and deadlines, hoping that in a week or so I will be back on my feet and pain will be gone.  But every time I worry that this time he might stay for good.

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Thursday
May312012

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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Friday
May252012

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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Tuesday
May222012

Martyred Mom Cracks Her Shackles!

Martyred Mom Cracks Her Shackles!  arose out of deep frustration over the seeming impossibility of reconciling motherhood and self-fulfillment.  Made in 2005, the video tells the story of a devoted mother’s tortured journey from martyrdom and guilt to freedom and possibility.  It is an amalgam of interview, performance art, and odd experimental technique (because the mother didn't know what she was doing).  The music, by Marty Beller of They Might be Giants, makes it an energizing experience.

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