It goes like this: You have a feeling, say anxiety, and a thought comes with it, say: I gotta get outa here! It's more like a command, isn't it? So you obey, right? You try to get out. But maybe you can't, so you get more anxious; as you get more anxious, your mind develops the thought, embellishing the fantasy of disaster if you fail to escape. More anxiety. Shall I go on? Have you been there?
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 Method (9)
Not so fast! If you feel like murdering someone, kicking your dog, running from challenge, eating til you can't breathe....do you do it?
No. right? you don't, right?
Feelings are not facts, but they make our beliefs seem like facts.
The problem with anger is that not only are we really not allowed to murder people, but we've been told since day 1 (ok, maybe 121, but still, pretty early) that if we are angry, we are bad and wrong and...crazy...also ugly....and...well, maybe it's just me but it's a rare duck that really surfs with anger. With all those nasty descriptions, it would certainly seem like a better idea to not get angry. But we do anyway, right? So we try to hold it in.
So, then when we were 20something maybe we got the idea that we should let it all out. We went around telling people the truth about the way I feel.
We may not want to believe it but happiness is entirely available, no matter what. Attention itself makes us happy, not its object. Says Spinoza, "When the mind regards itself and its own power of activity, it feels pleasure." Allow me to emphasize: Pleasure! Not just boring old serenity. And it's not just regarding the mind that is so much fun. Attending even to something awful is surprisingly interesting.
Again and again, my clients describe the agony of anticipating and imagining a disastrous event. A huge amount of preparation and tension goes into preventing the dreaded thing, and yet the ACTUAL event is, without fail, a better experience than its imagining.
It's never really about time or money, said a wise but mistaken psychotherapist.
Yes, it IS about time, really. Time is change, for one thing, and change is our only true master. Now I write, but in 25 minutes it will be time to go to the podiatrist. Later it will be time to go home, time to go to sleep, time to wake up, time to work, time to cook, time to do the dishes. Time seems to move too fast, meaning that I am too slow to change. I wish I could be time, as Zen Master Dogen teaches; I would be the clock, the moving part, the changing thing. The problem is that I need time to truly absorb this lesson and I'm in too much of a rush to stop and….
First off, what is it? I can't tell you how many times I've heard: I can't meditate. Right away that tells me that there's some ideal people think they are not reaching. But reaching is exactly what we don't do when we meditate. So, how do you not reach? How do you not do? Start with the certainty that you absolutely cannot do it wrong.
For real and lasting change, you'll need DIPS: Determination, Intention, Practice, and Support.
D for Determination: When we've banged our heads against the wall enough, frustration points us to a new direction. Yes, this really is a step. Banging our heads is quite productive. It produces pain that leads us to an alternative (unless we have learned helpnessness, which is another conundrum addressed elsewhere.) We are determined to quit smoking, for example.
Updated on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 10:16AM by Elena TaJo
Let go…..Cleopatra.. said my dance teacher in response to my failure to connect a phrase. Say what?! said I, stalling for time. It's a Donkey Bridge, he clarified, let go of the arms, then Cleopatra to make a shape. A memory device, a connector, so called because donkeys are supposedly too stupid to make it across the river any other way. In Zen it is said: Every Ass can Pass. Every one of us can get to the other side but we need the right bridge.
Words can be a bridge to dance. Dance can be a bridge to freedom. Yoga to meditation or meditation to yoga. The specter of death is a nifty bridge to a satisfying life.
I'm calling It the Working Zone, because of the clarity of its counterpoint--not working. As in: this is not working! Because you know when it's not working, don't you? You're burned out, or enraged, or stuck, or depressed, or freaking out with anxiety. In that condition, nothing is more important than finding a way to lower the decibel level of the stress until we can work with it. Go ahead and sweep that problem under the rug for now.