An Apriori of Forgiveness: You Can Blame a Human No More Than a Tree Branch That Just Fell on Your Head

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

shutterstock_167557808Most of the time we move forward/onward without any philosophy of living, without any ideology, mindlessly!

In mindlessness we are all equal – from saint to sinner (not that I believe in these distinctions).

But when something aversive (bad) happens to us or those that we relate to (i.e. identify with), our implicit philosophy of living crystallizes into a situation-specific judgment, i.e a “stone.” (as in a “stone of judgement”). Emotionally, we experience it as anger or rage (or sadness (if temperamentally on the quieter side) .(Parenthetically, anger and rage are highly exploitable, sadness not so much.)

A good while ago, a brilliant but very dry (not unlike myself (I mean dry not brilliant)) Baltic philosopher, Immanuel Kant, talked about a-prioris of reasoning: he’d say that we cannot not but perceive time and space, that perceiving things as being spatially arranged or temporally ordered is our built-in hardware or software.  He’d call it “the nature of the mind.”  I’d call it “the nature of the body.” But you can call this anything you want, but it makes no ontological difference).

(Parenthetically, I realize that most of the minds reading this are either being stoned-to-death by phones-going-crazy or some other jazz-of-living b.s. (which is why forgiveness is the essential lubricant of living)).

Same goes for moral reasoning: we presume that others have reasons/motives and that they have choice/make decisions and that they, at the very least know who/what they are.

Nothing could be further from the truth: we are chaotic.

Half the time (maybe even …

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Gestalt of Self

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Self is a Gestalt: an illusory Oneness made of (information) parts.

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By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

In mindlessness, body leads mind.

In mindfulness, mind leads body.

Reverse the flow as needed.


Pattern Interruption by Somov

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Formula of Change

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

A break-through begins with a pattern break.

That’s it: pattern interruption restores operational freedom.

Break out of the prison of pattern, Luddite of Consciousness.


related: Choice Awareness Training: Mindfulness and Logotherapy in Treatment of Addiction (Somov, P)



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Existentially Grounded Self-Help Psychology Begins with Nondualistic Ontology

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

advaMade of nothing more than seemingly dead matter, you see and feel and think, right?


Matter that sees, feels and thinks is not dead.

You are Living (Conscious) Matter.

Get it?!

Existentially grounding self-help psychology begins (and ends) with nondualistic ontology (i.e. with a non-divisive view of self and reality).


ref: go here for image source

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Enduring Identity of Am-ness

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

waterfallWe are not things. We look like things but we are not things. I can bump into a table, I can bump into you as if you were a thing out there, an obstruction…

But we are not things.

When you walk into a river, you bump against a current as if this current were a thing. This current is always there – it was there yesterday when you went in for a swim and it is there today when you go in for a swim. But a current is not a thing. A current is a process not a fixity.  And so are we.  We are not things, we are… autopoietic currents.  We are… processes. We are… presence-in-progress… am-ness-in-progress…

In fact, there are no “things” per se. Even what we consider to be “things” are not immutable, unchanging objects. Even “things” are ever-dynamic currents of molecular, atomic, subatomic change. We only objectify these processes as “things” because we are unable to visually detect their ever morphing nature.

The Universe is a fluid (dynamic) Oneness.  And so are you…

Stewart White makes a good point (among so many!) in the Unobstructed Universe:

Sometimes it is necessary to take away from a man everything he holds dear before, in despair, he will sit down alone to find that which cannot be taken away from him, that which, despite all, endures and lives within his consciousness.

I call this process of stripping every-thing away “identity detox.”  But whatever the name, notice …

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Opine Not!

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

su1We love to opine. Opinions express our subjective individuality and, therefore, our bias, taking us away from the inexpressible truth of what is.

Seung Sahn, a spunky Zen master, had this temple rule for his followers:

“To cling to your opinions is to destroy your practice. Put away all your opinions. That is true Buddhism.”

This, in my opinion, is a good advice. And not just for Buddhists. But for any mind that is becoming aware of its own fuss and noise.


I am sure you have some.

And, in the opinion of Seung Sahn, you’d do well to just witness them come and go unexpressed.


Ref: Seung Sahn “Only Don’t Know”

Related: Forgive the Fuss that Rises in You

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Forgive the Fuss That Rises in You

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

jrThere’s a line from Carl Jung’s Red Book that I like:

“Forgive the fuss that rises in me.”

“What’s the context?” you ask.

Forget the context. The context doesn’t matter. The context is the fuss that arises in us. This Jung’s line has a mantra-like quality. It’s enough for me. I use it out of context.

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Meaning of Life as Defined by a Butcher

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.


The meaning of life is listening to Pavarotti, feeling the sun on your face, drinking a bottle of wine, and then another. The meaning of life is having a safe and healthy society, a happy family life, good health, a loving wife, work that you like, smelling the smell of a new car and the ocean air, being able to hit a bull’s-eye, coming home with the fish and not another fish story.

said Carmine Pucci, a butcher.

People ask: “What is the meaning of life?”

My own answer is: “Living is the point of life – mindfully, with presence… and, to paraphrase Carmine Pucci, coming home with the fish and not another fish story about the meaning of life.”


ref: The Meaning of Life, by David Friend and the Editors of LIFE, 1991

Fish image available from Shutterstock.

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Chandelier of Pattern Interruption

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

chaThere is a chandelier in my sitting room. It’s hung too low. I bump into it with my noggin now and then. Everyone tells me I need to get an S-hook and raise it up a bit. They assure me that it is an easy fix.

But I am not interested. This problem is a solution. This chandelier keeps me awake. Chandeliers are meant to illuminate, aren’t they?! This one does so even when it is not lit.

“Knock, knock!”

- Who is there?



related: essays on pattern interruption/choice awareness

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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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