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 Racism (16)

Tuesday
Apr302019

Taking the Poison

Joanna Macy: Ever Widening CirclesYou know how when the jackhammer stops you realize how much your body was participating? It stops, I relax, relieved, now I can write. But then it starts back up again and, oh the pain, can I write through it, with it? It doesn't do any good to try to feel what I felt when it stopped; it just adds a layer of frustration. It doesn't do any good to pretend I don't hear it; that adds a layer of tension and dishonesty. When I'm pretending I'm not noticing, and then there is no flow. Writing about it, on the other hand releases me to make connections, thus:

Some of us want to leave the country. It's just too much. The oligarchs seem to have all the resources, the patriarchy is entrenched, the good don't win, the earth is wailing as we gang rape her. New Zealand looks so much better from here. But recently I listened to a podcast with the very old and very wise Joanna Macy in which she drew inspiration from Rilke as she faced difficulty. Some words from a sonnet to Orpheus:

Let this darkness be a bell tower and you the bell.
As you ring, what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What's it like, this intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses

Macy talked about what we do if a dear child or our mother is dying. If we love we stay, we try to stay, we don't avoid the pain, and neither should we love the earth less because we fear it to be unhealthy, or even our democracy. Even that. Or our poisonous culture.

I love to say I don't watch TV, don't have a TV, but that requires that I mildly pretend to myself that I am immune from formula, from a hunger for suspense, for romance, for good guys triumphing over the bad, and it is nearly always guys. Looking for a new show to binge, my friend recommended Rectify, and so I watched the whole 20-plus hours, watched the wronged white guy get supported by his family, his black friends who held no resentment for his comparative freedom, and countless lovely women who were smitten by his awesome depth and fascinating awkwardness. Yeah, because I fell for guys like that, wasted a lot of time projecting my own qualities onto them and then trying to obtain them by getting them to love me. It doesn't do any good to try not to do that. I can only ring the bell of pain. And as I do that I hear my voice, and there, I'm free because I already have what I want. 

Now I'm working on understanding Game of Thrones. So far the best part is that instead of checking phones, they have to wait for ravens to deliver news from other realms. What seems problematic are the gorgeous happy naked whores being trained by men to pleasure men (someone tell me they fix this in the next 20 hours!), the equation of honor with blood lineage, the constant butchery and treachery in the name of revenge and justice, and of course the damnable disproportionate screentime for men. If we don't see it, we can't interact with it at all. There are virtually no non-pretty powerful women anywhere in film or TV. Behold the first two lines of the cast page:

70% male

The whole page has 19 women, all beautiful, and 31 men, many old or fat or strange looking. Actually I'm remembering that there is an old woman who played a maid, but she is not included in this cast page. Anyway, seeing this line-up activates the not-enough software installed by the symbiotic glamour industry. I feel mad, gloomy, anxious, want to get highlights, want to disappear. Move back and forth into the change. I am still here, existing as I am, as are the beautiful women around me who don't look like the Hollywood ideal. If I keep showing my face as it is that isn't nothing. It is an intervention. I turn myself to wine. And maybe get some highlights? 

Joanna Macy and others have noted that even as our country is being devoured by the forces of greed there are many communities growing out of a different model, one that acknowledges interconnection and strives for justice and the true equality of appreciating difference. We can ground our attention there while we partake in the poisons. We can notice our breath as we feel jerked around by the unceasing demands to look, to buy, to one-up the other customers. I am a customer, yes, but I am also the mystery at the crossroads of my senses. Thank you, Ms. Macy and Mr. Rilke.

 

April 2019

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Aug302016

Just Another Racist White Lady

I'm at Far Rockaway because it's the people's beach, not like those fancy beaches you have to take a special train to get to.  This beach has more kids, more festivities, more lifeguards, more noise, more of it all.  It's been a glorious day, playing in the water, watching the joyful families, letting the deep drone of the waves permeate my brain.  Because I trust everyone completely, especially people of color, I often leave my bag on the sand as I take dips into the healing ocean.  

As I'm getting ready to go home, I reach into my bag for something or other and suddenly discover that the pocket where I keep my wallet is completely empty!  Panic!  I shuffle around some more, maybe I was mistaken?  NO, it's really empty! 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep072015

Really Undoing Racism

The parade of slayings and obscene statistics have finally yanked our attention to the crime of racism in America.  Eyes open, horrified and heartbroken, we march and protest.  "Black Lives Matter!" chant Whites and Blacks together, coming together to rise up and defeat the oppressor, or at least get him to put a camera on.  

Several months ago, during a formal conversation on healing racism, a zen teacher--Kodo Sensei, the first Black woman to receive dharma transmission, asked a question that sounded to me like "What's in it for White People?"   The question spun itself around in my guts like a sharply angled koan.

For one thing, White people want

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec152014

Black Lives Matter

My heart filled with hope when I witnessed this march, both because of the energetic young black leadership and because of the honesty and participation of white folk.  sorry I didn't realize I could turn my new iphone sideways, but still...

Tuesday
Jul292014

Seeing Kara Walker's Subtlety

A brilliant and articulate volunteer guides us through interpretations of “A Subtlety, or The Marvelous Sugar Baby" and the public reaction.  I hope you can forgive the limits of the iphone4.  As a friend and collaborator says often, the best camera is the one you have on hand.  I just had to share what I learned from this installation, all melted and destroyed now, at the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn.  

Sunday
Jul142013

Trayvon and George: Moms and Villians

How must she feel now, Trayvon's mother?   Like all mothers, I imagine she poured herself into her son, wanting him to have a satisfying life, to do good, and to make her proud.  She must have imagined his future many times, many ways.  It might still happen automatically now; maybe she has to stop her mind from imagining.   Because how is it possible to lose a child, to really know that there is no future for Trayvon?   Her son was shot dead for being in the wrong territory, for posing a threat to another man

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb042013

Breaking Bread with the Crips

A packed house, a teen nightmare, a sweet story of communion, and a deeply offensive work of not-art.   

Not by Bread Alone features a troupe of deaf blind 'actors' ladling out friendly vaudevillian vignettes that feature pantomime, supertitles, and kinesthetic sign language.  Also, they are baking bread.  We learn that the deaf and blind "have dreams, too," dreams of love and marriage, and dreams of having hair done by a super duper stylist.  Just like us.   

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec102012

Central Park Five, and Me

Aghast as the movie finished, I sat in the dark watching the six other people in the theatre gathering their stuff.  I think I was the only one with beige skin.   If you still think that maybe we live in a just world, please try to witness the wreckage of The Central Park Five.  Like most White people, I had forgotten or never much thought about what happened to the brown-skinned teenage boys who were wrongly accused of raping the White woman known as the Central Park Jogger.

Click to read more ...

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

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun062012

How to Change the World, Justina

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:40PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

One morning on the way to Ballet class, I hear the news that Black Americans are moving away from northern urban areas toward the South and into the suburbs.  This interests me for what it will mean for diversity, so I remember it.  

As we chitchat before class, Justina, a young Black woman just returned from a family visit to Tennessee, comments:  "The South never changes."   I argue briefly and then ponder her comment for the remainder of class.  (You can blame all my mistakes on that!)   When class is over I ask her what she meant.  A graduate student in Social Psychology, she is frustrated by entrenched patterns:  expectations shape behavior, behavior reinforces expectations, and the cycle perpetuates itself.   Indeed, I agree.   Except here she is, an exception.

Click to read more ...