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.
The brilliant, searing final ISCS keynote that should have been the opening keynote. Bravo Evan!
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 a dharma talk I gave at Marin Sangha on November 27, 2016. In these turbulent times it is important to understand how effective social action and the Buddhist practices of wise speech, embodied awareness and right action complement one another. Virtuous conduct, sīla, depends upon a Buddhist practitioner’s ability to comprehend and enact right view: impermanence, not-self and the causes of suffering and non-suffering. This talk clarifies how to hold the precepts while boldly, fearlessly engaging in social action.
Many of us are in shock and devastated, fearful of what the next 4 years of Republican leadership with no checks and balances means for our country, our world and our planet. The possibility of complete devolution is a sad reality.
Lest we practitioners forget: meditation is not an intoxicant. Don’t close your eyes and remain deluded. Stand up, fully awake, fully aware of the multitude of suffering, fearlessly knowing the interdependence of all phenomena, all events. None of us are free of culpability for the ignorance, hatred and greed that besets our species. We can be the liberation we are all waiting for.