Archive for September, 2010

Breakfast of Information

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Mind is a curmudgeon.  Mind doesn’t like to review and revisit.  It likes its presumptions.  So, an occasional “pattern break” is a healthy wake-up call for the sleeper.  Here’s a platter of consciousness for you to get you started this morning.

“Buddhists are one of the least popular religious groups in the country [US].  People like Buddhists less than they do atheists and Mormons – and only slightly more than they do Muslims” (source: Newsweek/Sept. 27, 2010, “Our State of Disgrace”)

My reaction (not that it matters):

  • Surprised to find out that Buddhism is a religion (after all, Buddhism posits no gods and, as such, is more of a philosophy of living than anything else, the original psychotherapy of suffering, if you wish)
  • Makes sense: compassion and “acceptance of reality as is” are threatening values; judgment is socially simpler

Self-Forgiveness Isn’t a Responsibility-Shirking Excuse

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Know all and you will pardon all.

Thomas A’Kempis

This is a follow-up to my previous post Rediscovering Your Motivational Innocence.  As I see it, when you dig down to the motivational depths of all behavior, there is only one core motive: pursuit of wellbeing – we all move away from pain towards pleasure.  It is my firm belief that all conscious existence is lined up along this motivational vector.  The rest is just variations on the theme.  How we go about pursuing our well-being is pre-determined by the intricate interplay of nature and nurture. 

Some of us do a better job than others – that is when we compare people to people.  But any such comparison is a comparison of apples and oranges.  After all, as I have noted before, similarity isn’t sameness and everyone is unique.  The difference between how any two people go about pursuing their wellbeing has to do with the differences between their histories. 

We are all doing the best we can no matter how much our best pales in comparison with personal and social ideals.  Your core motive is always the pursuit of wellbeing.  Your effort is always the best that it can be at any given moment in time.  Motivationally innocent and perfectly imperfect, you have nothing to blame yourself for. This isn’t some neurolaw argument that “my brain + my past made me do it.”  No.  You are not hiding behind your history.  You are simply taking your psychological determinism into account in an attempt to accept reality as it is. 

ps:

I realize that you might bristle at this idea.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.  We’ve been culturally conditioned to judge.  So, we aren’t particularly keen on forgiveness.  But let’s be clear: I am not proposing a legal reform or a new code of ethics (after all, the goals of law and psychology aren’t necessarily aligned), just a a path of wellbeing.

Resources:

360 of Compassion  and Self-Acceptance  and Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, Buddha 


Session of Nonduality

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

One therapy room, two minds.

One streaming, one witnessing.

Which is the river, which is the riverbank?

Not a bridge to burn between these two halves of one and the same processional whole.


Rediscovering Your Motivational Innocence

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Know all and you will pardon all.

Thomas A’Kempis

Guilt and/or shame leads to rumination and dwelling on the causes of what happened.  At a glance, this seems to be a potentially useful information-processing habit.  The problem, however, is that this post-mistake analysis is biased and the conclusion is typically foregone.

You have already decided that a) if you “made” the mistake, then, of course, it was your fault, and b) that the reason why you “made” the mistake is because you are flawed.  Let’s work on reversing this process in order to rediscover your motivational innocence and to learn to give yourself the benefit of the doubt.


There Are No Mistakes

Friday, September 24th, 2010

No One Makes Mistakes On Purpose (Sabotage Notwithstanding)

I did my best… I did my best!
Dane Cook, comedian

The phrase “to make a mistake” implies purposive, conscious, planned action.  That’s utterly inaccurate: there are no intentional mistakes, no one consciously sets out to fail.

When we fail on purpose, when we make a mistake by design, we are actually succeeding with some kind of covert plan.  Therefore, even an act of conscious sabotage isn’t a mistake (to you) even if takes the form of a mistake (to others).

Bottom-line: No one makes mistakes because no one ever makes a mistake on purpose (sabotage notwithstanding). 


Enso of Effortlessness

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Choice Awareness Training exercises (continued)

Choice Awareness Training is designed to leverage a greater sense of freedom-to-change, to awaken the living zombie, to facilitate change-process (see a more detailed description of Choice Awareness Training in Make a Choice When It Doesn’t Matter and Open Your Hand to Open Your Mind and Circle of Choice).

Exercise: Enso – Choice Awareness Calligraphy

(if new to this post-series, check Circle of Choice first)

Jung wrote: “It is not that something different is seen, but that one sees differently” (1958, p. 546).  Enso is “zen” for “moon circle.”  The moon circle, in Zen Buddhism, is a symbol of enlightenment and is a frequent subject of calligraphy (Austin, 2001). 


Bushmind

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Who are the Hadza?

Location:  northern Tanzania; “About a thousand Hadza live in their traditional homeland, a broad plain encompassing shallow, salty Lake Eyasi… Genetic testing indicates that they represent one of the primary roots of the human family tree – perhaps more than 100,000 years old.”

Language: “not closely related to any other [language] that still exists”

What are the Hadza like?


Encircle Yourself With Choice Awareness

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Choice Awareness Training exercises (continued)

Choice Awareness Training is designed to leverage a greater sense of freedom-to-change, to awaken the living zombie, to facilitate change-process (see a more detailed description of Choice Awareness Training in Make a Choice When It Doesn’t Matter and Open Your Hand to Open Your Mind and Circle of Choice).

The Circle of Choice – Practice Version

(if you are new to this discussion, see Circle of Choice first)

Draw at least one mindful circle every day.  Slow down enough to consciously take in all the options available to you at the moment:  the hand you’ll draw it with, the placement of the drawing on the page, the starting point, the direction, the diameter, whether you will bring the ends of the line together or not.   Use this exercise as an alarm clock for your mind.  Time this exercise strategically, before the events in your daily life that are fraught with compulsive mindlessness. 


Identity Recovery

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Identity theft is when someone identifies themselves as you and steals your resources.  Identity giveaway is when you identify as someone else and surrender your sense of individuality and uniqueness.  All identification with the external is a giveaway of your essence.

The word “identity” comes from the Latin word idem, which means “same.”  Identity is built through identification with the external, with what you are not. We determine our identities by comparing ourselves to “not-ourselves” and thereby try to determine who we are. We tend to think along the lines of “I am like this or that” or “I am like so-and-so or that-and-such.”  Therein lies the problem. 


Circle of Choice

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Choice Awareness Training exercises (continued)

Choice Awareness Training is designed to leverage a greater sense of freedom-to-change, to awaken the living zombie, to facilitate change-process (see a more detailed description of Choice Awareness Training in Make a Choice When It Doesn’t Matter and Open Your Hand to Open Your Mind).

Pattern Interruption: Waking Up the Zombie

George Gurdjieff, an early 20th century Greek-Armenian mystic, the pioneer of the so-called Fourth Way, prescribed pattern interruption activities (such as the use of non-dominant hands to perform various routine tasks of daily living) to wake up the human spontaneity from its slumber.  Pattern interruption is one of the elements of choice-awareness training. 


Reinventing the Meal
Reinventing the Meal
Present Perfect
Eating the Moment
The Lotus Effect The Smoke-Free Smoke Break
Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is the author of The Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, and Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.


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