Archives for Perfectionistic Samsara

General

Perfectionism: Uncertainty Training


Psychologically speaking, koans are a unique way to inoculate a human mind to the anxiety of uncertainty. When we encounter uncertainty, we are stumped. Uncertainty frustrates us with its enigmatic nonsense. Koans, in their unanswerable quality, effectively simulate such moments of uncertainty.

Author Hee-Jin Kim explains: the koans are “realized, not solved” (1975, 101). Admittedly, this explanation is a bit of a puzzle itself. But here’s how I make sense of it. A...
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On Lawyer Suicides

There is an article on CNN on the high rates of suicide among lawyers (trailing fourth after dentists, pharmacists and physicians).

Over the years I have seen a number of lawyers in my practice - typically, very very bright, perfectionistic, dysthymic ("walking cases of depression"), with a touch of OCPD, and a bit of anger.  I don't claim to be intimately familiar with this profession but I have long felt that life of a lawyer, particularly, a trial lawyer, is one...
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I, a Process

Understand:

You are not a thing, you are a process.

You are not a fixed entity, you are change itself.

You both are and aren't.

-

Related: Processual View of Self either in Present Perfect (Somov, 2010) or in Lotus Effect (Somov,...
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Verses of Awakening

Interpreting poetry is a dirty business. Understanding why it affected you is not so bad.  Here's another verse that woke me up the other day.

Korean Zen preceptor Naong (1320-1376):
With the true emptiness of nonaction,

I nap on a stone pillow among rocks.

Do you ask me...
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General

Next Economy, Buddhist Economy

November 6th, 2012: the day we vote on economy… the year of apocalyptic partisanship… the year of promises of new economy…

I usually don’t mess with economics.  The last time I spoke on the topic was when I re-phrased the all-too-familiar “It’s economy, stupid!” meme into “It’s psychology, stupid!” in my 2009 Huffington Post blog.

My question is this:

What kind of economy are we trying to build?

The kind of economy where everyone who...
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360 of Compassion

Proclamation of Psychological Independence

The West is in a constant war with reality: perpetually dissatisfied with what is, we are desperately trying to perfect it. This one and only reality seems never enough and we feel ever entitled to more: bigger houses, bigger (hybrid) cars, bigger (Anime-sized) eyes, bigger market shares, bigger tax deductions, bigger incomes, bigger bonuses, bigger breasts, bigger penises, bigger egos, and bigger wars. We have been culturally programmed to endlessly optimize and supersize, and to constantly perfect ourselves and everyone else around us.
Our appetite for more has been kindled to the level of insatiability. No wonder we feel psychologically starved and existentially empty.
We have been taught to chase the unattainable: to be more than what we are at any given point in time. We are a culture of idealistically naive strivers unable to be content with what is if only for a moment. This absurdly unrealistic goal (to be more than what we are at any given point in time) comes with the high cost of psychological dependence. Feeling chronically imperfect, we sell out for reassurance, validation and approval. Feeling chronically incomplete, we compete in consumption and stuff ourselves beyond measure.

This chronic deficit of self-acceptance becomes a matter of national deficit and undermines the socio-political independence of our society. Long-term sovereignty of a nation rests with psychological independence of its constituents. A nation of psychologically insecure denizens is at war with itself, and is, thus, divided.
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General

Pest Control

There is a bumble bee in my basement, "attacking" the fluorescent lighting tubes.  He (she?) doesn't understand that this light is not day-light.  He (she?) doesn't understand that he (she?) is in my basement and not outside.  The bumble bee bangs and bangs against the light, needing something from it, perhaps, the navigation guidance of the sunlight, I don't know.

What I do know is that the bee cannot and will not understand the nature of this mystery.  He (she?) is mesmerized, befuddled, exasperated.  I've seen flies do the same, when trapped inside, they bang against the transparent - and, therefore, theoretically, open "space" of the window pane.  "Why can't I fly through?" must think the fly. "Why isn't this dumb light working as the sunlight should?" must wonder the bee.

I open the basement door, it's dark outside, I turn on the outside light and wait - in hope - for the bee to fly out, thinking that I fooled it.  It keeps bomb-diving at the fluorescent tubes in the basement, seemingly unaware of the escape option.  I turn off the basement light, just leaving the outside light on.  The contrast works: the bee instantly flies out, following its instinct for the light.

Problem solved, but not the mystery.
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Pattern Interruption

Had a Taste Yet?

A thought-provoking passage from a story Yam Gruel by the early 20th century Japanese writer Akutagawa:

“Yam gruel is a gruel made by boiling slices of yam in a soup of sweet arrow-root.    It was regarded as the supreme delicacy.   Accordingly, such lower officials as Goi could taste it only once a year when they were invited as guests to the Regent’s Palace. On such occasion they could...
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