Ignorance is Innocence

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

There are many conceptual, interpretive, philosophical paths to forgiveness. Here’s one that might have not occurred to you yet. I consider this one a kind of axiom of forgiveness:

“Ignorance is innocence and innocence is ignorance.”

Give this some thought. See what this idea does for you.


360 Degrees of Compassion

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Glass Fully Empty

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

People talk about seeing the glass as half full (optimism) or half empty (pessimism).  What about seeing glass as is (realism)?

Is the glass half full or half empty? Neither. The glass just is. It has nothing to do with ether the quality or quantity of what is “inside” it. The contents of the glass are not inside it: from the perspective of the glass itself “its” contents are outside it and therefore are not its own, not of the glass, the “contents” of the glass have nothing to do with glass. The glass is always just what it is.

Same goes for a mind that knows itself: we are not our informational contents, we are not what passes through us. We are not our optimism. We are not our pessimism. We are not what we think, feel, sense.  Neti, neti – not this, not that.

related: Lotus Effect: Shedding Suffering

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Stanton Peele’s New Book: “Recover!”

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

recStanton Peele’s writing has been a Copernican paradigm shift in the field of recovery.

With his “Diseasing of America,” Peele emerged as a savvy provocateur with the guts to take on the recovery establishment.

With “Recover!” Peele shares his clinical wisdom and compassion with those who are on the path of change and self-acceptance.

“Recover!” is a recovery program of practical perfection without the typical recovery perfectionism.

Stanton Peele is a must name to know in the field of substance use work.

Stanton Peeel’s website (full of resource) http://www.peele.net

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Archetypal Arc

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

jainismForgiveness begins as a strange idea, as something that other people do, as something that we are afraid to do.

Forgiveness continues as “something that makes sense,” as a way to “move on,” “to let go,” as something you “need to work on.”

Then forgiveness manifests – first, as an exception to the rule, as a precedent.

Then a habit of forgiveness forms, an autotelic habit.

Finally, forgiveness becomes a baseline.

An archetypal arc… from fear to fearlessness.

Wherever you are in this process, congratulations to you: you are alive, you mean well, and you are doing your best.

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Big Minds, Big Egos, One Nameless Tribe

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Big Bang theorists keep trying to explain the entire Universe… without factoring their own minds into their so-called “theories of everything.”

Does that make sense to you?


I know that with each judgement I am barking at a nameless tree of reality

Do you?


Reality is neither right nor wrong.

It just is.


Mental health and epistemological sobriety are not-two.

Present is perfect and beyond psycho-somatic, spirito-physical, inner-outer description.


Good luck to all who seek.

And peace to all who don’t.




Pattern break by mindstream


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Semantic Path to Nonduality

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.
8Nonduality is a hard concept to grasp.  It’s because it is not exactly a concept – it’s what you get when you transcend the concepts.  Confusing as the path may be, it is a path to a certain kind of clarity, to a certain kind of liberation.  So, here’s a semantic path to nonduality that I have devised for myself a while back.
Perhaps, it’ll do you some good as well:
Step 1: drop the “or” (black or white)
Step 2: drop the “and” (black and white)
Step 3: [nothing left to drop]
Let me try to explain without getting too wordy:
Step 1 allows you to walk away from dichotomous thinking. Dichotomous thinking divides reality into “this” or “that,” antagonistically opposing “this” against “that” by insisting that reality is either “this” or “that.”  By dropping the “or,” you stand to move closer to how things really are: they are not either/or, they are more like both/and.
Whereas Step 1 (of dropping “or”) allows you to get rid of the dichotomous antagonism, Step 2 (of dropping “and”) allows you to move closer to the oneness of reality.  Reality is not black and white.  That would be two.  Reality is not-two.  Reality is neither black nor white.  Black and white, this and that are just different ways of seeing reality.  Whereas Step 1 allows for a phenomenologically democratic validation of different perspectives, Step 2 demonstrates that reality is what it is our phenomenological interpretations notwithstanding.
Step 3 is living when there is nothing left to …

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These Things Alone Are Your Concern

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

gilgThe Western ethos historically runs from Mesopotamia: Sumerians were the first to cradle our existential blues in writing.

King Gilgamesh went looking for heavenly immortality and found meaning in the day-to-day trivia of our earthly life:

Gilgamesh, whither are you wandering? Life, which you look for, you will never find.

For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and withheld life in their own hands.

Gilgamesh, fill your belly -

Day and night make merry,

Let days be full of joy.

Dance and make music day and night,

And wear fresh clothes.

And wash your head and bathe.

Look at the child that is holding your hand. [ps: my favorite line!]

And let your wife delight in your embrace.

These things alone are the concern of men.

These lines were written about 4000 years ago.  What was true then is still true.  Know what to concern yourself with!


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Metacognition Begins With an “Oops!”

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

You know that moment when you say “Oops!” to yourself?  An “oops” is the beginning of metacognition – the beginning of self-awareness.

And now researchers have found the neural signature of “oops”:

This may open the door to a class of behaviors called metacognition, or “thinking about thinking,” the self-monitoring of one’s actions. Regarding the appearance of gamma oscillations in the “oops” cases, Dr. Tonegawa stated “our data suggest that animals consciously monitor whether their behavioral choices are correct and use memory recall to improve their outcomes.”

Source: Science Daily


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Anger Management: From “No” to “Yes”

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Anger_04During my recent workshop series in Wisconsin, I described the clinical trajectory of anger management as follows: “It’s a shift from saying “No!” to reality to saying “Yes” to reality.”

Put differently, it’s a shift from taking everything personally to realizing that nothing is personal.

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy, once said: “How essential – oh, how essential it is to outgrow everything personal.”

Indeed, if we are to transcend our paranoid ways of being, we have to appreciate that all is one and one is all.

How can Oneness be personal?!


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The Unhappiness Project

By Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

kri“Your search for happiness is prolonging your unhappiness,” said U. G. Krishnamurti.

Indeed, search is suffering.

And suffering is search.

Put differently, the happiness project is the unhappiness project.


pattern break by mindstream

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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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