Posts Tagged ‘psychology


get over it already


There is a quote I came across from Mark Epstein, while I was scanning over his book “Thoughts Without A Thinker” again (btw – I recommend any of his books).
For me,  this thought is not only central to any type of spiritual practice or discipline, it is also central to achieving psychological health.  While psychology is a fairy new discipline and Buddhism is over 2,000 years old – isn’t it funny how relevant this idea of over-identification is to the human experience and how certain schools of thought keep bringing it up?
I can’t even begin to blog how often I over-identify with my thoughts or feelings (let alone how easy it is for me to see it in other people before I notice it in myself). Or how I try to find some damn “meaning” in a feeling or thought so I can make sense of it or understand it.
(this is truly the dilemma for anyone suffering from a  Bipolar disorder or the general narcissism found in society – it’s what marketing firms and advertisers count on yeah?)

It’s just a feeling.
It’s just a thought.
They arise and they pass . . .
Why do we try to so hard make them permanent and concrete?
Why is it so difficult to just observe them?
(Again, this is why I practice sitting.  Or at least one of many reasons I practice)

Enjoy Mark’s perspective on this:

“Because of our craving, the Buddha is saying, we want things to be understandable.

We reduce, concretize, or substantialize experiences or feelings, which are, in their very nature, fleeting or evanescent. In so doing, we define ourselves by our moods and by our thoughts.

We do not just let ourselves be happy or sad, for instance; we must become a happy person or a sad one.

This is the chronic tendency of the ignorant or deluded mind, to make ‘things’ out of that which is no thing.

Seeing craving shatters this predisposition; it becomes preposterous to try to see substance where there is none.”


We don’t need to be particularly saintly in order to be compassionate


Seeing the suffering in the world around us and in our own bodies and minds, we begin to understand suffering not only as an individual problem, but as a universal experience.

It is one of the aspects of being alive. The question that then comes to mind is: If compassion arises from the awareness of suffering, why isn’t the world a more compassionate place?

The problem is that often our hearts are not open to feel the pain. We move away from it, close off, and become defended. By closing ourselves off from suffering, however, we also close ourselves to our own wellspring of compassion.

We don’t need to be particularly saintly in order to be compassionate. Compassion is the natural response of an open heart, but that wellspring of compassion remains capped as long as we turn away from or deny or resist the truth of what is there.

When we deny our experience of suffering, we move away from what is genuine to what is fabricated, deceptive and confusing.

–Joseph Goldstein, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom


On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero

Thanks to “Breathe” for posting a comment on my last blog, which has me remembering what a wonderful shadow expression this film was:





Owning up to your “shadow” – not a bad idea, can be a difficult process though.  It’s the Holiday Season so get ready to face it, cause it is going to be in your face screaming a big “Fuck You”, which for me can easily mean, turning around and projecting it onto someone else (I mean wtf, this is the shadow – I ain’t gonna own it – that’s its point).
Tis the season to be with “family” and there’s nothing like family to bring out a little bit of my repressed features.  The bigger the jerk, the more likely I’ll project my disowned self  (hell, you should see me at work recently – it’s all – “I’m rubber, you’re glue”).  But family D-r-a-m-a makes  the  stunts pulled at drag shows seem tame (and trust me, those queens know drama).

If you head over to,  Kelly Sosan Bearer has written some great 101 articles on the Shadow.  Really worth taking a look – even if you’re like me and spent quite a bit of time examining this issue over the years.  “Hot on the Shadow’s Trail”  also includes an informative 10 minute video by Diane Musho Hamilton.   Here is an excerpt:

“There are several benefits to recognizing and working with our shadow qualities. For one, we are usually more effective when we are not projecting all over everyone and everything we encounter. By reclaiming our projections, we unburden others from our projections about them, and allow them to just be themselves, rather than as how we see them. In that way we gain more objectivity.
But possibly the most important reason to work with our shadow is that hiding our shadow from ourselves requires an extraordinary amount of energy. What could we do with all that liberated energy? Enjoy life more? Enjoy others more? Accomplish more because we aren’t being constantly triggered into a familiar drama? Maybe even make a developmental stage transition?”

I think one of the greatest benefits of examining and owning the shadow for me is that I have a great desire to open – and part of what the above excerpt points to –  is that we are able to be more objective when we own our shadow.  Wouldn’t it be great to say,  “I don’t ALREADY know how you’re gonna act”, because you’re making it about yourself (your shadow) rather than them?
So in the end whether they are a jerk or not doesn’t really matter.

(sure, easier said than done – but you gotta start somewhere. And you have to have a bit of healthy ego development and sense of self to begin to even look at your dark side, otherwise you’re gonna go neurotic or even psychotic – which probably explains why some of those family members will never try this process.)


I should be committed

“The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.”

~ Rollo May, 20th Century Existential Psychologist

Kind of appropriate during election week huh? Like any other time wouldn’t be appropriate.
Oh well, I’m glad my “SELF” does not need to choose like my “self” does.  That’s grounding for me.  Because while some days I have much courage – and actually choose with a balanced head and heart, other days I’m just, “king of the forest” making some really shitty choices out of a fearful ego. 
Thank god there’s always another chance at relationship with others – with myself.  A chance to have the curtain pulled back, to wrestle with flying monkeys, to get a smack on the nose (ok, enough of the damn Oz references).  The bottom line is that I don’t always choose with courage – but I always get another chance to choose and that’s the fuck’n beauty of life!  To learn to be fully human.
And then to learn to move beyond this and to –
let it go . . .
Resting in the “SELF”

Live'n Aloha on Maui.
Lately just posting pics, artwork, vids, & music with just a headline (less seems to be more).
Into Wilber, Beck, Zen Stuffs, Spiritual Concepts, Philosophy and Humor (kinda geeky humor).
Currently attempting to strengthen my meditation skills (this has been a 20 yr process).
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July 2020