Buddhism teaches the interdependence and transparency of all phenomena, all experience. As trauma therapist, it may seem counterintuitive to hear me say that over-identifying with anything, including grief and trauma, is an invitation to become lost in the delusion of self-cherishing. I choose instead to wield the sword of discerning wisdom and fierce compassion. To face my complicity in the disintegration of American Democracy through my own complacency, blindness and incorrect assumptions. I choose to engage fearlessly in clear-minded, open-hearted uncompromising actions to support the wave of Americans willing to ensure American Democracy survives the coming onslaught of American Demagoguery.
No matter how the electoral college votes, my responsibility is to recognize and seek to end suffering wherever it may reside: to no longer get sidelined by feelings of shock, anger and overwhelm. I am not that. I am nothing more than the luminous awareness in which those feelings and all other phenomena arise, exist and cease. Awakening, standing up for and speaking truth are the ultimate rebellious acts. This is where I choose to put my efforts and energy as we go forward.
You can now download for free on Academia.edu The Ultimate Rx: Cutting through the delusion of self-cherishing, the chapter I authored for the newly published Handbook of Mindfulness: Culture, Context and Social Engagement.
Western and Buddhist psychologies acknowledge the significant role distorted self-narratives play in poor mental health. But these two disciplines hold divergent views on the utility of ‘cherishing the self’. Western psychology claims high self-esteem is a requirement for self-confidence, happiness, and success. Buddhist psychology asserts wisdom and compassion are the forerunners of genuine confidence and sustainable personal and collective well-being. It further states that endemic self-cherishing—the habitual reification of distorted hyper-egoic self-narratives—is a primary source of mental and emotional affliction. Yet, Buddhist psychology also affirms the innate capacity of all human beings to end the mental suffering of self-cherishing. This chapter explicates Western and Buddhist psychological models of self, Buddhist theories of not-self and conventional and ultimate self-cherishing, and outlines a somatopsychotherapeutic clinical approach for helping individuals struggling with depressive, anxious, trauma-related symptoms and addictions, to recognize self-cherishing mentation and lessen its deleterious effects.
Listen to two dharma talks I recently delivered on Delusion and Non-delusion.
Delusion and Deluded Mind
This first talk covers the Buddhist psychological description of how delusion manifests in human perception and its effects on collective and personal human suffering.
Download mp3 iTunes podcast
Non-delusion and Undeluded Mind
This second talk covers the Buddhist psychological description of how non-delusion manifests in human perception and practical steps for cultivating non-delusion in daily life.
Download mp3 iTunes podcast
The Atlas of Emotions is a fantastic new interactive online resource for understanding the human inner emotional landscape. The Dalai Lama reached out to Paul Ekman and other affective researchers to create a user-friendly, visual map of the knowledge psychology and neuroscience have accrued over decades of research about emotional states and their behavioral manifestations. Take a look at the site. It is a great resource for mental health professionals and their patients.
Psychologist Guy Macpherson interviewed me for the Trauma Therapist Project Podcast. We had a very rich conversation during which I shared experiences from my time in Kosovo shortly after the war ended in 2000 working with traumatized Albanian Kosovar children, and also the clinical integration of Buddhist psychology and and Somatic Experiencing Therapy that I currently offer patients. Enjoy!
Listen to a recent dialogue I had with psychiatrist Jose Calderon-Abbo about recent terrorist acts, our response to them, the mental and emotional suffering of the perpetrators and the role of cultivating compassionate recognition and wisdom in healing human harming.
Here is the link to the mp3 recording: https://clyp.it/ufi3igl4