Tuesday, July 05, 2011

The Difference Between Zen and Therapy?


I present to you the very first published photo of all four original members of Zero Defex together for the first time since nineteen hundred and (mumbles indistinctly)! Left to right are Mickey X-Nelson, Brad No Sweat, Jimi Imij and Tommy Strange.

Purists may ask where are Johnny Phlegm, Frank N. File and Alan X-Nelson. But the band's first three bass players each lasted a mere couple of weeks, while I was in for the long haul right up till the end. Or at least the first end of the band. So go suck a grape.

This was taken at X-Day 14 down in Southern Ohio where we played last night. I am heading back down to the same campgrounds later today. Tomorrow and Thursday I will lead workshops at Starwood, a big pagan festival down there in the woods at Wisteria campgrounds. I'm pretty sure you can still get a spot there. Click here for details. Cuz I don't really know. The workshops are at 10 am both days.

On the way driving back up to Akron a friend who was riding with me asked that perennial question, "What's the difference between a Zen teacher and a therapist?"

This has come up a number of times since I spoke at Ordinary Mind Zendo in New York where, some (but not me) say I was psychoanalyzed on stage. I've answered in a few really complicated ways. But there in the car I came up with the real answer spontaneously.

A Zen teacher teaches Zen.

The relationship between a Zen teacher and his/her "student" is based on their mutual practice of zazen. If you're not practicing zazen... well, you can ask a Zen teacher whatever you want and either place value on her answers or disregard them. But you won't really understand her answers until you start practicing yourself.

My friend asked if I give people advice about how to live, as a therapist does. I thought hard about the many private interviews I've had with practitioners and I couldn't come up with a single instance where I advised anyone about how to live. Nor can I recall ever being advised how to live by my teachers or any other Zen teacher I've done an interview with. In fact they've all avoided giving such advice even when I clearly and unambiguously asked for it.

I talk to people about their Zen practice, about the things that come up during practice, about how to respond and deal with this stuff. In my case I usually respond by explaining how I've dealt with my practice issues. I don't ever tell people to do it my way because my way is not right for them.

So there you go. The difference between Zen and therapy is Zen.

137 comments:

Anonymous said...

The truth is #1

Harry said...

I'll tell porkies at 2.

Blake said...

My friend asked if I give people advice about how to live, as a therapist does.

I actually wouldn't say that therapists give advice about how to live (or they shouldn't). That's more like a "life coach." Instead therapists help people find answers to their own problems by giving them techniques, exercises and tools.

I only know this because not only have a been to a therapist but also my wife is a counselor.

R said...

As one might expect, Brad is avoiding the point.

Anonymous said...

What are the differences between this, that and the other?

VAVAV said...

As one might expect, R is not satisfied.

YKW said...

As one might very easily expect - you don’t know what I’m talking about.

+ said...

If you wouldn’t be willing to swallow this shit, Brad wouldn’t feed you with it.

Brad Warner said...

Life advise or not, the difference is still zazen.

Mettai Cherry said...

I see a therapist to help clean up the mess my prior zen teacher made. My therapist has published rates.

R said...

- No offence Brad, - I just got what you meant by the last sentence in your post, (- should it be “Zazen” instead of “Zen”? just a mistake?) I wanted to refer to that anyway, - but still, you’d know I hold what I say, you don’t dare refer to things as they are.

+ said...

should be “that shit” instead of “this shit” @ 9:43 am

Anonymous Bob said...

Being a music purist, I have to ask: What is that stuff in Jimi Imij's pie hole? Is he ripping the elastic out of his boxers?

CAPTCHA : geedi : I kid you not

MF said...

Priests of other paths are often willing to assist people in understanding how to live according to the path's philosophy. Why are western buddhist leaders so hesitant to teach and prop up how buddhism informs us on how we ought to live. Is 'practical buddhism' just not adequately trained?

Anonymous said...

There is no enemy anywhere.

VAVAV said...

As one might very easily expect, YKW is still not taking his meds.

Anonymous said...

So, what is the difference between Zen and Zen?

minus said...

+ was correct the first time when he referred to his own comments as "this shit".

Anonymous said...

"So, what is the difference between Zen and Zen?"

Five tons of flax!

Manny Furious said...

Any therapist halfway worth their title doesn't actually give advice. The best therapists just help the clients clear up the muckiness, for lack of a better term, of their own thinking. Nothing more nothing less, really, regardless of the reason why they're attending therapy (addiction, ambivalence, trauma, etc.)

Modern Zen teachers, well... from my experience, some try to avoid actually giving any practical life advice for fear of being "found out" that their practice hasn't actually helped all that much. Or others give out too much advice, because they've deluded themselves into thinking they are "gurus". As usual, the middle path tends to be the most useful....

Awakened Yeti said...

whats the difference between zen and rationalizing?

anonymous anonymous said...

Yeti, rationalizing is idealism, Zen isn't. Hope that helped you out.

Harry said...

Yes, that's pretty much the case re 'what therapists do' I think.

FWIW, psychoanalysis/Freudian-based therapies (the branch which Barry M seems to belong to) are generally characterized as being about the therapist enabling/facilitating the client to realise previously unconscious mental conflicts (the underlying causes of presenting disorders) in a cathartic event. It is insight-based therapy. I've often thought that there may be parallels, or a natural affinity at least, with this type of approach and zen practice that emphasises satori experiences.

The most prevalent approach now though (in these here parts at least) is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) which is more about our current thinking and how the schemata (underlying ways of thinking and percieving ourselves, the world and the future) that we have developed through learning directly affect our behavior in the here-and-now, and how they can be changed in the here-and-now through intervention. The emphasis is less on uncovering unconscious 'conflicts' from the past and more about what we are thinking/doing right now.

Soto and Rinzai therapy???

Just a silly thought.

Regards,

Harry.

Awakened Yeti said...

yes, you've helped immensely

your hopes have been realized

anonymous anonymous said...

Yeti, Good! Things have been very pleasant around here lately, and should remain that way most of the summer.

Kyle said...

As long as we see things as separate, that inner battle never ceases. And as long as we don't explore ourselves, even zazen will be useless. However, I kind of feel like zazen allows all that stuff to bubble up so the individual can be unified through recognition, experientially.

So really it seems like Zen and self-exploration are on the same team. When used in the right way, that is. Anything, even Zen, can be used in the wrong way, as we all sadly know.

It is unfortunate that some schools of Zen get so hung up on mindless discipline, ritual, and treating all individuals as if they are numbers. That is not the backward step that Dogen was talking about. But I suppose this can be said of anything.

Anyway, good post, Brad as always. ^.^

Anonymous said...

What is the difference between Zen and the Alexander Technique?

john e mumbles said...

Heh. He said "mumbles."

Awakened Yeti said...

Speed

john e mumbles said...

Okay, Harry, and not to split hairs, just trying to clarify the differences/how its supposed to work...

If whatever a person is thinking and doing right now -which seem to correspond to the schemata- is based on unconscious conflicts, how does CBT avoid provoking some kind of cathartic event -or the equivalent, or something (intervention?)- so that the person can become self-reflective?

Both approaches seem pretty similar, I mean...

Zen is zen, after all.

Anonymous said...

Episode 71 :: Carol Tavris :: Delusions and Cognitive Dissonance
http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_071.php

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/carol_tavris_mistakes_were_made


In Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast I talk with Daniel Siegel, MD about meditation and the brain. Dr. Siegel is the author of several books including The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being. In this interview we review the scientific evidence about how mindfulness meditation changes the brain, both in terms of short term activity and in terms of long-term structural changes. The evidence is convincing that a regular mindfulness practice can be an important element of brain health.
http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/2008/8/22/meditation-and-the-brain-with-daniel-siegel-bsp-44.html

Roshi Joan Halifax & Dan Siegel: Mindsight: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Awareness (Pt 1 thru 9)
http://www.upaya.org/dharma/tag/dan-siegel/

Anonymous said...

This Emotional Life

1
Rethinking Happiness
http://www.hulu.com/watch/227955/this-emotional-life-rethinking-happiness#s-p1-so-i0

2
Facing Our Fears
http://www.hulu.com/watch/227956/this-emotional-life-facing-our-fears#s-p1-so-i0

3
Family, Friends and Lovers
http://www.hulu.com/watch/227957/this-emotional-life-family-friends-and-lovers#s-p1-so-i0






Host: Daniel Gilbert is Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He is a social psychologist.

Harry said...

John e,

As far as I understand, CBT does indeed have a strong component of the client becoming more aware of his/her feelings, thoughts, behaviors, assumptions etc. Keeping a journal of same seems to be a big part of it. In a sense, seeing that these previously unconscious processes become conscious through increased awareness, the process does involve a *type* of cathartic process I suppose.

The notion of unconscious 'conflict' is more from the Freudian side of the house though ('conflict' or dynamic interaction between the id, the ego and the superego that is, hence the name 'psychodynamic') and is not a term used, or it is certainly not used in the same way, in CBT, which does not talk in terms of conflicting 'parts' of the self such as the ego ect but talks in terms of our current negative thinking as the cause of depression (i.e. as opposed unconscious or repressed feelings or desires and all that).

Cathartic events have more significance to the psychodynamic therapist as they see 'conflicts' as being initiated through past experiences and involving clear stages of psychosexual development (where it all gets a bit weird... wanting to shag your mother and thump your dad out of jealousy and all that stuff!)

Basically, psychodynamic therapy is generally characterised as trying to uncover and resolve the very deeply buried, repressed, unconscious stuff from childhood relationships with primary care givers etc, while CBT is characterised as dealing with our present thoughts and actions with a view to changing them for the better. The classic Freudians tend to be a tad fatalistic compared to the cognitive crowd as they might see us as controlled by unconscious drives and forces with little free will while the cogs see us as able to become aware of our current thinking and change our current behavoir via changing our thinking.

CBT can be (and is) criticised from the Freudian point of view as being to 'shallow' and not addressing the underlying, unconscious issues while a Freudian approach can be criticised from a CBT perspective as being to lengthy, expensive and potentially traumatic/ emotionally draining for the client.

The similarity between the two things is valid. In practice, a lot of therapists have an eclectic approach which will draw on various theories and methods depending on what the client is presenting.

The various approaches/therapies have been proven to be more effective in treating different conditions. CBT is seen to be very effective in treating depression for example.

Regards,

Harry.

R said...

- Sorry to say aa, - (and AW) stating that rationalizing is idealism is untrue.

Dogen makes a very severe point of this and I once made the quote here on HCZ.

Rather realism is more reasonable than idealism, (or materialism) but it doesn't mean it easier to see or get.

john e mumbles said...

So Freudians feel the Cognitives do not go deep enough while the Jungians feel the Freudians are too shallow.

In other words, factoring in the archetypal unconscious there is no end to it.

Kind of like the theory of reincarnation, huh?

drow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Investigating Healthy Minds

Once upon a time we assumed the brain stops developing when we're young. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson helped overturn this idea by studying the brains of meditating Buddhist monks. Now he's working on conditions like ADHD and autism. He focuses not on fixing what is wrong, but on rewiring our minds with life-enriching behaviors.

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2011/healthy-minds/

R said...

- One other thing, - as for my earlier comments, - had Brad only said what he did it was fine.

But if he’s trying to present this as the difference between “Zen” and psychology I find it very troublesome.

- Fundamentally if one would ask - “What is the difference between Zen therapy” - the answer would be the purpose.
But if one would limit himself to that this would still be avoiding the point.

+ said...

“Zen and therapy”

Awakened Yeti said...

: to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives ; broadly : to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for

++ said...

Being an intellectual does not mean you’re reasonable, rational or logical.

It means you’re limited to the shallowest kind of thought, fundamentally possible for a seven years old child.

;) said...

AY - people who write dictionaries are usually intellectuals.

+ said...

Should be “AY” @ 5:36 pm too.

Sorry.

AY Disagree said...

Finding fault with terms like intellectual while trying to appear pseudo-intellectual in the process is the territory of a small mind that wants to explain things either/or. THAT is 7-year-old child logic.

Awakened Yeti said...

i thought dictionaries were written by jews and niggers

Anonymous said...

Jundo says:

LINK


Our emphasis here is on Shikantaza ... which may be said to be "being one" with what ails one, although not necessarily a cure for what ails one. HOWEVER, that "being one" with life ... can relieve much suffering in life. It is a strange thing ... we do not sit Shikantaza to be "better" or to make life "other than as it is" ...

... Yet, in the very stillness of letting life be "as is it" and embracing all of life ... and in dropping the hard borders and divisions between our "self" and the world ... this practice does thereby leave almost all people better ... and often does work an effective cure (or is one helpful part of the cure) ... from depression, stress, addiction, compulsive disorders, eating disorders, anger issues, self loathing ... you name it.

We do emphasize mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions ... but not as a form of meditation. However, our Zazen is the radical non-doing of Shikantaza, and the "mind theatre" and tricks and games of the human mind is something that naturally we also become better able to recognize and avoid from sitting.

... I suspect that Shikantaza ... in its quietness, in the total stillness and acceptance ... would be something helpful with what you describe ...

Zazen is -NOT- a cure for many things ... it will not fix a bad tooth (just allow you to be present with the toothache ... you had better see a dentist, not a Zen teacher), cure cancer (although it may have some healthful effects and make one more attune to the process of chemotherapy and/or dying), etc. Zen practice will not cure your acne on your face, or fix your flat tire. All it will do is let one "be at one, and whole" ... TRULY ONE ... with one's pimples and punctured wheel, accepting and embracing of each, WHOLLY WHOLE with/as each one. There are many psychological problems or psycho/medical problems such as alcoholism that may require other therapies, although Zen can be part of a 12-Step program or such (a few Zen teachers in America with a drinking problem had to seek outside help). My feeling is that some things ... are probably best handled by psychiatric treatment, not Zen teachers.

anonymous anonymous said...

Yeti 6:51 said: "I thought dictionaries were written by jews and niggers."

No one can be positively sure this is is mysterion. But anyone who has been reading this blog for a while should be able to recognize the theme. It's not brain surgery. The man is nasty, a liar and a bigot and a fake.

Brad, quit taking his money if you ever did. It's filthy.

Anonymous said...

health risks of sitting reported

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/05/get-moving-more-health-risks-of-sitting-reported/?hpt=hp_bn6

Steven said...

What's up with all the bickering and snide remarks? Can't we all get along?

That aside, I was planning on saying something about this whole therapy thing on my own blog. I think that there is a huge difference between being a teacher of Buddhism/Zen and being a therapist. Even the concept of a therapist is misunderstood, because many people feel that therapists are somehow meant to "fix" them. Many are willing to put the whole responsibility on someone else.

And when people use the argument that Buddhist teachers and monks could and perhaps should advise others how to live and what to do in a particular instance like the priests and gurus of the world would do, they forget one important key component. And that is that in those other paths the priest or guru is at the very least a mediator, and at the most a direct line to God.

They are seen to have some divine authority that no self-respecting Buddhist teacher would never claim nor want. Besides, the goal for us is not to dream better, but to wake up from the dream entirely.

Anonymous said...

Yeah it's a shame Steven. Nasty bickering. I think mysterion is fucking nuts. Either that or I'm fucking nuts. Naw.. it's mysterion.

Sai Kumar Reddy said...

Excellent! Well Said. For all practical purposes Zen is Zazen and Zazen is Zen. You want Zen, do Zazen, the best way to get it.
If you want therapy what ever it is, go to a therapist no need to mix the two, it only muddles things. Can it get any clearer than this?

tattoozen said...

Therapy depends on the idea of an inherent "self" which has been obscured or corrupted in a way that can be uncovered or corrected using whatever therapy. Without that belief the the therapy becomes pointless, after all the stated goal is to return the patient to a state of "normality".

Zen is fundamentally opposed to a belief in a fixed "self", one is constantly arising in the moment. Any state that we (or a therapist, or society) deem "normal" is based on a concept that cannot be found in the ever changing real world.

In this sense therapy is just about exchanging one form of delusion for another. Zen is about ending delusion.

R said...

Hi aa @ 9:02 pm, - I’d answer differently: “Intellectuals are Jews and Niggers”.

A few points for AYD said...

It’s not finding faults with terms, it’s finding fault with intellectuality.

trying to appear pseudo-intellectual” is only in your mind, but if you don’t get what intellectuality is you won’t know what I’m talking about.

+ Its a bit like you haven’t read what I said, - but then I don’t suppose you can.

... said...

“It’s a bit like”

Ran said...

Sai Kumar says it very nice but if you go back to the article it doesn’t really answer Brad’s friend’s question.

Anonymous said...

Jundo says

LINK

Our emphasis here is on Shikantaza ... which may be said to be "being one" with what ails one, although not necessarily a cure for what ails one. HOWEVER, that "being one" with life ... can relieve much suffering in life. It is a strange thing ... we do not sit Shikantaza to be "better" or to make life "other than as it is" ...

... Yet, in the very stillness of letting life be "as is it" and embracing all of life ... and in dropping the hard borders and divisions between our "self" and the world ... this practice does thereby leave almost all people better ... and often does work an effective cure (or is one helpful part of the cure) ... from depression, stress, addiction, compulsive disorders, eating disorders, anger issues, self loathing ... you name it.

We do emphasize mindfulness of our thoughts and emotions ... but not as a form of meditation. However, our Zazen is the radical non-doing of Shikantaza, and the "mind theatre" and tricks and games of the human mind is something that naturally we also become better able to recognize and avoid from sitting.

... I suspect that Shikantaza ... in its quietness, in the total stillness and acceptance ... would be something helpful with what you describe ...

Zazen is -NOT- a cure for many things ... it will not fix a bad tooth (just allow you to be present with the toothache ... you had better see a dentist, not a Zen teacher), cure cancer (although it may have some healthful effects and make one more attune to the process of chemotherapy and/or dying), etc. Zen practice will not cure your acne on your face, or fix your flat tire. All it will do is let one "be at one, and whole" ... TRULY ONE ... with one's pimples and punctured wheel, accepting and embracing of each, WHOLLY WHOLE with/as each one. There are many psychological problems or psycho/medical problems such as alcoholism that may require other therapies, although Zen can be part of a 12-Step program or such (a few Zen teachers in America with a drinking problem had to seek outside help). My feeling is that some things ... are probably best handled by psychiatric treatment, not Zen teachers.



My feeling is that receiving outside treatment, medication AND "just sitting" can all work together.

Tozan says it better than Brad said...

Shinji Shobogenzo 1 98 is just about this matter.

Uncle Willie said...

"Zen is zen, after all."

Sometimes.

Sometimes zen only appears to be zen.

Sometimes zen appears to not be zen.

Sometimes zen appears to be somewhere in between.

Sometimes zen appears to be beyond "is" and "is not".

Sometimes.

Bizarro Seagal said...

I've tried everything. I've done therapy, I've done colonics. I went to a psychic who had me running around town buying pieces of ribbon to fill the colors in my aura. Did the Prozac thing.

Huang Po Seagull said...

The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood. By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full aeon, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifest in the Buddhas.

Anonymous said...

To Ran @ 2:27 AM,

YOU can't even read what you write, look at your endless corrections of your own comments.

Sit Down And Shut Up.

anonymous anonymous said...

Anon: Sometimes it's good to follow your own advice. Ran speaks English better than you talk shit.

Ran [- #63 -] said...

Thanks aa. - + 8:28 am: - I’m not just saying what I do. - Having been somewhat absent minded as you are referring to is meaningless. Is it even necessary to say that?

- Deduction is very easy. A seven years old child is capable of that. - A living view of reality is different. Real understanding is different from intellectualization. It’s about seeing things as you are able to see the immediate objects in front of you. Intellectual thinking is as detached as possible from its objects and therefore - if unjustifiably confident - often wrong.

Anonymous said...

I understand what intellectual means for christ's sake, I just don't know why you were going on and on about it? Who cares?

And to anonymous anonymous, what's in this for you? I can talk shit to Ran or anybody else who decides they are better than some one else based on some bullshit.

Why don't you mind your own business? Piss ant.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bondage, Up yours!

Anonymous said...

Booze up, yo!

- End of story - said...

- You don’t understand what intellectual means, and keep Christ out of it.

- If you did, - you’d also understand why I am trying to point to what you won’t see.


The detection of your inferiority is not based on any bullshit, else than that you utter.



aa is my lawyer, - any further issues are to be addressed to him only - boy.

Anonymous said...

I go to therapy to let stuff out that I choose not to let out with those I love & respect. I think I behave better when in therapy. It is included in my health plan, and I'm likely more productive and resilient due to therapy. If something is said F'd up by the therapist I ignore it. They are pretty human.
Zazen is Zazen and the depth of experience with others at the Zendo is about not talking a lot, I haven't talked to a master yet and things work well.

kristien said...

Therapy starts from the point-of-view of the body-mind as a problem.
Any Reality practice, (which Zazen should be) does not.
Read the following quote from Adi Da Samraj:

"The body-mind-complex (born, alive, or dying) is not a "problem" — or an inherent dilemma.
The body-mind-complex (born, alive, or dying) is not the "method" of Realization of Reality Itself, Truth Itself — or The Self-"Bright" Divine Person and Intrinsically egoless Self-Condition Itself.
Reality Itself, or Truth Itself, or The Self-"Bright" Divine Person and Intrinsically egoless Self-Condition Itself can and must Be Self-Realized, or Inherently Realized — and This Necessitates and Requires a "Radical" (or Always "At-The-Root") Disposition and Demonstration In Place (or, That Is To Say, In, As, and By Means of That Which Is Always Already The Case), rather than any conditional (or merely Cosmically, or psycho-physically, enacted) effort, presumption, or idea."

Anonymous said...

Fuck you Ran, and your fag lawyer aa.

anonymous anonymous said...

Anon, Remind me to kill you later. How did you know I was a fag. It must have been your Gay-dar. I would like to wax your back sometime. Call me.

Anonymous said...

You leave two clues: you and Ran are the only vehement Mysterion haters here, and, well, you are both, yes you are, you've both admitted it: gay.

And that's all fine and good, as long as you're a gay hater I suppose.

Meditate on that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I almost forgot, neither of you are intellectuals.

So that's three clues.

Anonymous said...

Simpletons can never be considered intellectuals, and they always hate people smarter than they are.

Ireland Before Alcohol said...

Harry is it true?

anonymous anonymous said...

Anon, mysterion is so scary intelligent it's.. scary. The things he can do with ctrl+C and then with ctrl+V. His skills are amazing. That's why I hate him you see. I'm jealous of his talent, and his integrity. I don't hate you though. You seem like a nice boy.

proulx michel said...

Harry wrote : CBT can be (and is) criticised from the Freudian point of view as being to 'shallow' and not addressing the underlying, unconscious issues while a Freudian approach can be criticised from a CBT perspective as being to lengthy, expensive and potentially traumatic/ emotionally draining for the client.
my feeling is that freudian profundity is that they already know what's "profound" and they're waiting for you to arrive there to tell you "this is it!"

mother earth said...

Zen: All dharmas are empty.

Therapy is not.

Ok?

Harry said...

"Harry is it true?"

I don't know, cos the video on that site is not available to us dirty non-Americans.

...and they wonder why console ourselves with copious amounts of alcohol!

Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

Booze up!

Anonymous said...

"The Freudian approach can be criticised from a CBT perspective as being to lengthy, expensive and potentially traumatic/ emotionally draining for the client."

http://youtu.be/rBx25ALNwPU

Harry said...

p.s.

If you think we're bad on booze, you should check us out on... Ether!

http://tinyurl.com/3vklgb8

Happy Ether, fwends!

Regards,

H.

- of Jews and Niggers - said...

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4063012,00.html

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4091458,00.html

(or Google “Shani Sivilya”)

anonymous anonymous said...

Boring day. Someone.. Some daft unknown bearded bigot must have decided it was time to get his daily chubby.

Chubby Bubby said...

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
Isaac Asimov

john e mumbles said...

'arry, I couldn't get that Psychology Today article to load, but it brought to mind a sorta-kinda similar local pastime...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FffzU7F6Lc

Anonymous said...

"Ye have locked yerselves up in cages of fear; and, behold, do ye now complain that ye lack freedom."
Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.,
"Epistle To The Paranoids,"
The Honest Book Of Truth

john e mumbles said...

Or just do it the old-fashioned way...

http://www.holeintheheadmovie.com/

Anonymous said...

Mr. Mumbles,
That article did not concern the sniffing of ether but rather the drinking of it. I had never heard of such a thing and would have considered it lethal before today.

http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-eth1.htm

Anonymous said...

Oh these silly pseudo intellectuals. Their mouths filled with other people's words. Only one of them would think his own ignorance was less ignorant than someone else's. Such misplaced pride.

john e mumbles said...

DISCLAIMER

We here at Mumbles laboratories do not promote imbibing or otherwise ingesting experimental substances.

Any recreational use at the lab is strictly for research purposes only.

Anonymous said...

Jesco White and
the "ether frolic" origins of
surgery with anesthesia --
larn me somethin' new ev'ry day.

Thanks Harry and Mumbles!

ator said...

As a quick aside, Jung wrote the forward to one of the D.T. Suzuki books about Zen Buddhism

I apologize for being on topic.

Fuck you for reading this.

Awakened Yeti said...

do you need some cheese with your whine?

Anonymous said...

“The addict’s reliance on the drug to reawaken her dulled feelings is no adolescent caprice.
The dullness is itself the consequence of an emotional malfunction not of her making.”
-Gabor Mate, MD, Author,
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction

chubby intellectual said...

You drunk ass drug addicks should go to aa like Ran K.
a-normous asshole.

mtto said...

"All dharmas are empty."

The word "dharmas" means different things in different contexts. In this context it means "stuff" or " things" in a very broad sense.

Everything is empty, including therapy.

Anonymous said...

Chubby is really showing off his intellectual side tonight isn't he? Deep thoughts by the Chub. And he thinks mysterion is the man. Haha.. Good for mysterion. Too funny..

Ran @ 99 said...

- Sorry to disappoint but it was me who posted @ 1:40 pm. - I do think if such things get known in the world my country might be more careful in keeping them from happening. I sometimes post such links.


+ : - Isaac Asimov clearly does not know what intellectualism is. (- mumbles posted that quote some time ago, did he not?)

But as an expression of realism I am not getting into another discussion here and now.

- Though I would still say I can’t imagine any mature person reading his books.

Anonymous said...

100

Soft Troll said...

To proulx michel

who wrote:

my feeling is that freudian profundity is that they already know what's "profound" and they're waiting for you to arrive there to tell you "this is it!"

The dynamic you are describing could fit anyone who takes up an authoritative 'chair'. Whether as an expert, teacher, or as a priest (literally or metaphorically).

In every instance that human is in an 'authoring' position regarding another person when that person seeks them for help, guidance or understanding. Often they may not be seeking freely, but have only a certain choice on offer at a time of crisis, or be part of a community which presents only one or a few forms.

I understand where you are coming from with 'Freudians', and I understand that this was a point lightly made. Nevertheless I think you touch on something important.

It is easy in these times to derogate the psychodynamic way of approaching matters. We are firmly in the realm of mythos here.

If a person enters into a religious practice, they enter into a symbolic code where they might have, through their practices, a 'deep' experience, in the 'here-and-now', that is realized in terms of that symbolic code. Entering and exiting an experience may take the form of a vision of Christ or Mohammed, etc. The priest, even one who may not have had such an experience, being an authority in that symbolic code, will confirm that that person has got it ("this is it!").

The danger comes with attachment to, as well as a reductionist pruning of, the forms of that experience, such that a vision of Christ, say, is considered authentic by a Christian, who then considers a Muslim's vision of, say, Mohammed, to be inauthentic, false, maybe even evil, and so on.

This level of ascribing, in the 'here-and-now', authenticity and particular narrative value to an experience is very much in the 'here-and-now' realm of logos.

The psychodynamic practioner can be understood in such a way as a modern shaman. Indeed, the psychodynamic therapist is often in a position where his/her actual role seems to be very much a conflation of priest, teacher, scientist, artist, philosopher, doctor etc.

cont...

Soft Troll said...

...cont

Whatever their symbolic template, they could fall into the same tautologous trap as the priest, by merely helping to shape/mis-shape a person's complex intra-personal (and by extension interpersonal) dynamics, into that template. That mythic template will also be part of the therapist's own personal mythos.

If we are not careful, though, we may perpetuate an imbalance.

For example, Harry wrote, while outlining CBT

that we have developed through learning directly affect our behavior in the here-and-now, and how they can be changed in the here-and-now through intervention..

I'm not here to criticize CBT or Harry. Nor am I intending to make out that he has an imbalanced attitude (unless that is he wishes to present my views as not genuine, informed, or authentic).

We all locate ourselves within present discourse, depending on our present views and experiences, and my points are directed at the level of ideology and discourse...

I have often come across 'here-and-now' statements applied to CBT from Buddhists wanting, explictly or implicitly, to draw parallels with CBT and Buddhism.

What I wish to draw attention to here, is that, although there is a very rational Zen, I think it is important to distinguish this from fashionable contemporary rationalism, for any parallels to be affective. Otherwise, Michel, aren't we tending towards a situation similar to the one you describe with the 'Freudian'?

To simplify: one could say there is logos therapy and mythos therapy. Just as one can have Marx and one can have Hegel, as a way to split the bitter-sweet apple, and have the world taking up their antithesis.

I don't think its ever really the case that mythos and logos are every really separatly functioning. More that one can be the dominant, explicit mode.

Dominantly Mythos practices, discourses and institutions often underplay the role of logos in their activities; Logos practices, the role of mythos in the same.

If there is any place for authentic Zen practice in either, I would say that it would help such a person in an inevitably authorial/authoritative position to constantly locate their activities and views in and through the interplay of what I am presently identifying as mythos/logos.

Rationalism, in my view, often leads to people taking views that their activities are not as tainted by subjective, mythic dynamics - on a personal, ideological or institutional level.

CBT is ideologically and economically of the day, and not for merely good or bad reasons.

It has been recently noted that Zen is often reconstituted through Christian socio-historical world-views and mind-sets. I think it is important to consider Rationalism(s), if I may be so reductive, as being developments from and instances of those world-views and mind-sets too.

What is the functioning mythos of the high priests or Picassos of CBT and the like? what is the functioning logos of the Scientists and physicians of Psychodynamics? And what is western Dogen for that matter? Hopefully it won't just be a new form of post-modernism.

Harry said...

I'm not here to criticize CBT or Harry. Nor am I intending to make out that he has an imbalanced attitude (unless that is he wishes to present my views as not genuine, informed, or authentic).

...I have often come across 'here-and-now' statements applied to CBT from Buddhists wanting, explicitly or implicitly, to draw parallels with CBT and Buddhism.


Hi, Soft Troll.

What a strange, fluffy non-statement (are you Tony Blair?) Spit it out, old chap/chapette! You're anonymous so we won't hold it against you.

It's interesting that you seem to want to put yourself beyond mild reproach on presenting your inherently imbalanced view after inferring that I was putting some Buddhist 'spin' on CBT when, actually, I was using the crude, nontechnical 'here and now' (as opposed to the Freudian 'arising from the unconscious/past') language that it was explained to me in as an unremarkable third year student.

I have no direct experience of CBT of which to talk, I'm not trying to sell it, I'm not particularly convinced by it (although the clinical evidence is quite good) and I don't feel a need to reconcile it or otherwise present it with Buddhism at all. I do, however, notice resonances in my inherently and unavoidably unbalanced way.

Regards,

Harry.

Soft Troll said...

Harry,


I'm not here to criticize CBT or Harry. Nor am I intending to make out that he has an imbalanced attitude (unless that is he wishes to present my views as not genuine, informed, or authentic).

We all locate ourselves within present discourse, depending on our present views and experiences, and my points are directed at the level of ideology and discourse...

I have often come across 'here-and-now' statements applied to CBT from Buddhists wanting, explictly or implicitly, to draw parallels with CBT and Buddhism.

What I wish to draw attention to here, is that, although there is a very rational Zen, I think it is important to distinguish this from fashionable contemporary rationalism, for any parallels to be affective. Otherwise, Michel, aren't we tending towards a situation similar to the one you describe with the 'Freudian'?"



I'm not attempting to put myself beyond any reproach. I wanted to use a little of what you had written as an example of discourse. When one 'writes here and now' in this context, in the way you did, then it is quite reasonable and to the point, to discuss it in those terms. The 'spin' is already there, even if you didn't intent it, or realize what you were helping to spin.

I might be off the mark in the above view, but a reasonable discussion helps bring that out.

I have read very similar statements before about CBT, by Buddhists talking about its relation to Zen.

I was trying to make clear that I was talking on the level of discourse and using what you wrote as an example.

My "unless that is he wishes to present my views as not genuine, informed, or authentic" was obviously a misguided way of hoping you wouldn't engage in the sort of punch-drunk arrogance that prevents constructive discussion.

It seems to have just been a red rag to a bull. And for that I apologise.

Its strange that you draw your own inferences and make what you call "fluffy non-statements", while being condescending to others views.

As I was at pains to point out, I don't think you were holding an imbalanced view in your comments here in this section. That I had to be 'at pains' we share in responsibility.

We can't fail to draw inferences, but we can try not to be simply nasty in the way we communicate.

I have not and most likely will never put my identity on the web. I'm sorry if those who feel able to are made to feel uncomfortable by that. And I completely accept that that is going to have me grouped with all sorts of other anonymous posters.

As I'm sure you know there are many ways we can express ourselves, explicity and implicity. As for the Rational Zen and Dogen references, I'll keep them as they are.

Just because Zen isn't nice, doesn't mean we can revel in being he opposite - stop being such a wuss (your knees will have to forgive you)

Anonymous said...

Episode 62 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Warren Brown, PhD, co-author (with Nancey Murphy) of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will. This book was discussed in detail back in Episode 53, but this interview gave me a chance to discuss some of the book's key ideas with Dr. Brown. We focused on why a non-reductive approach is needed in order to formulate ideas about moral responsibility that are consistent with our current neurobiological understanding of the mind.

http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/2009/10/9/did-my-neurons-make-me-do-it-with-warren-brown-bsp-62.html

USA said...

Ireland, We will trade you you Harry for mysterion. What do you say?

And.. we will throw in Awakened Yeti or a sack of potatoes in on the deal.

Harry said...

Potatos are so 19th century.

Offer 'em credit or ether.

Ireland said...

Not if by "sack of potatoes" you are referring to those dullards Ran or anon anon.

USA said...

It's a deal than.

Anonymous said...

"It's a deal than"

What kind of word trick is that? Gniz does not have the right to negotiate for the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Zen is not the same as psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, or any of that other psychocrap. Of course, the effects of Zazen or koan study can have side effects which usually are interpreted in a psychological way. But primarily, Zen concerns everything, because it is everything, including you, me, the moon and the stars, the whole universe. Therefore it also includes psychological stuff. But it is not identical to it.

Harry said...

Hi Anon,

In the old parlance the Mahayanist might have said that efforts limited to redeeming only the individual, psychological self belonged to the Hinayana or 'small vehicle'.

...Wonder how many dinner parties that would get one invited to in New Yoik!

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you'll get to find out for yourself if the trade agreement goes through.

Soft Troll said...

Harry,

I wasn't attempting to put myself beyond any reproach. I'll put the quotes into context again.

I'm not here to criticize CBT or Harry. Nor am I intending to make out that he has an imbalanced attitude (unless that is he wishes to present my views as not genuine, informed, or authentic).


We all locate ourselves within present discourse, depending on our present views and experiences, and my points are directed at the level of ideology and discourse...

I have often come across 'here-and-now' statements applied to CBT from Buddhists wanting, explictly or implicitly, to draw parallels with CBT and Buddhism.

What I wish to draw attention to here, is that, although there is a very rational Zen, I think it is important to distinguish this from fashionable contemporary rationalism, for any parallels to be affective. Otherwise, Michel, aren't we tending towards a situation similar to the one you describe with the 'Freudian'?


I was genuinely attempting to use that quote from your comment with 'here and now' as an example of discourse. As such it is naive to think you can write 'here and now'/'right now' in such a context and in such a strident way and it not be part of the 'spin' - even if that was not your intention. We are all involved in inadvertent 'spinning'.

As I said, I have read a few 'here and now' comments by other Buddhists. The imbalance I was referring to was from what I read in Michel Proulx's post (who also took a quote of yours as a point of departure.) The imbalance I was trying to locate was one where psychodynamics was derogated more than CBT, and might be usefully linked to notions of Rationalism and Rational Zen, in terms of mythos/logos.

I might be wrong in my reading, but that doesn't mean I'm being disingenuous, or taking sneaky swipes at you. I meant it when I said there that I wasn't meaning to criticize you or CBT.

It seems, though, that my being at pains was just a red rag to a bull. For which we both are responsible.

My bracketed "unless that is he wishes to present my views as not genuine, informed, or authentic" is of course referring to our previous exchanges. Being dismissive in such a manner is not 'mild reproach', smacks of arrogance.

And I was hoping to distinguish between your ability to engage in constructive dialogue and your habit of revelling in alpha-male punch drunk condescension ("What a strange, fluffy non-statement")

Soft Troll said...

...cont

Something I note you are a little more careful with down at Dosho Port's blog.

Authentic zen might not be 'nice', nor does it have to revel in the opposite. (your knees will have to forgive you)

"(are you Tony Blair?) Spit it out, old chap/chapette!".

It is also 'interesting' that you wish to take swipes in such a class/sectarian manner. If you want to have a laugh with your Irish-drunk caricature, maybe you'd be wise to not let it spill over. I spent 5 years in Leeds with a large Irish-Yorkhire family, and that sort of thing gets boring very quickly.

As for my identity, I have never and will never use my identity on the web. I'm sorry if that makes some uncomfortable.
I understand that this choice places me in a heap with all the other anons and trolls etc.

Sometimes I think it works the other way too. People with internet identities have to keep up the show. Despite my own personal reasons for keeping my identity for the fresh air, I find it a delight to have the freedom to express different personas in different spaces. On here I'm Soft Troll, and Soft Troll has two different voices. One more authorial and perhaps more masculine, the other more playful and perhaps more feminine.

As for 'inherently imbalanced'. This is, of course, just stating the obvious about everyone. But rather than take an easy Alpha- male double bluff swipe at

"I do, however, notice resonances in my inherently and unavoidably unbalanced way"

by calling it fluffy, zenny, a non-statement or just dry voodoo, I try to read constructively first, and attempt to keep the cognitive dissonance as low as possible.

I apologise sincerely if I have pushed some buttons. This was not my intention. I'm disappointed you were unable to read my efforts constructively.

As you have said yourself, there are some very real practical reasons for this.

Chub said...

Good Lord, is EVERYBODY gay here?

r said...

Harry, I skipped most of the long comments but it seems @ 1:42 you’re mixing two concepts: - The individual and the psychological self.


I hope Mysterion will be well received in Irland.

- pfff - said...

- Ireland, sorry.

And you can send the yeti (or the potatoes) on the next flotilla to Gaza, - I recall there was an Irish ship.

Anonymous said...

see 10:44 AM re; "potatoes"

Anonymous said...

The photo:

Looks like your usual mature group. You wonder why those people in New York thought you were adolescent. Where the hell did you get these guys.

You really should grow up.

Anonymous (- Not Harry) said...

A deal is a deal, - Harry. They're starving in Gaza, and they need suicide bombers too.

Anonymous said...

Where is Brad, anyway? Maybe he shagged some old hippie chick in the woods??

Wizard sleeves!
Wizard sleeves!!

Anonymous said...

The photo:

These guys are in their late forties? They could pass for denizens of some shithole old folks home. Expect for Brad, who looks like a red-hat old lady in drag.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Harry said...

Jesus, Soft Troll, did you get educated just to whine at a PHD level about some Irish twat that you don't even know ? Lighten up, man/ woman.

Yeah, so I'm a boorish, drunken Paddy, alpha male or whatever you think... tell me something I don't know and get over it.

As for running roughshod over yer lyrical waxings: I have a short attention span for things that don't immediately interest me. Just one more of my many, many failings. Sorry!

Dosho's okay. I like him. And his blog is moderated BTW. I'm generally interested in what he says on there, god help him.

Regards,

Harry.

USA said...

Ireland: I know mysterion isn't worth much. Would you accept some orange socks in the deal? Say.. three pair.. Harry and three pairs of socks. Get back to me.

Bushmills said...

How long did you wear them?

Awakened Yeti said...

you guys, zen is like, so much more totally awesome than anything else

rock over london!

Soft Troll said...

Jesus, Soft Troll, did you get educated just to whine at a PHD level about some Irish twat that you don't even know ? Lighten up, man/ woman.

PHD level! Was George Bush an Irish drunk too?

I'm sorry you thought I wasn't enjoying myself spinning out my prose, tough guy. I write mainly for myself, believe it or not, and so I rarely read back what I've written to see if it's interesting or whiny.

I don't mind whining at a whiner.

I like Dosho Port too, and I love the tone of his talks. Very similar to Steve Hagen. I wonder how much having the same teacher pervades even one's voice?

You'd be surprised at how much I don't know you. Girls get bruised.

Stephanie said...

The basic similarity, is that both a therapist and a Zen teacher confront how our subjective experience of mind shapes what we call "reality."

The most crucial difference for me, though not the only one, is that a therapist seeks to help a person become more functional. If there are depressive symptoms, a therapist will most likely (though this depends on the client's goals and perspective) work to help the client reduce or alleviate them.

If a person comes to a Zen teacher, however, saying, "no matter what I get in my life, I never quite feel happy, I don't really understand the point of any of this," a GOOD Zen teacher, who GETS it, will say YES, this is the human condition, this is the first noble truth, you have found out the secret that nothing will make you happy! And go from there.

Zen is NOT about being "your best self," living longer, being fitter, happier, more productive. It is about seeing the futility of all that and being FREE from it!

Stephanie said...

But then, I add, why would a practitioner of Zen bother with the role of a therapist, trying to help people become "more functional," or better able to engage with "love and work," if the perspective of Zen practice reveals that chasing after worldly happiness is ignorance?

The way I see it, this is the heart of the bodhisattva, that we are so compelled by the suffering of others that we seek to alleviate it with whatever means we have; it might be best to teach a person to fish, but if they are unwilling or unable to learn, or there is some other issue, do we let them starve, or do we give them a fish? Every little iota of happiness in the world is precious; helping a person work through their grief, or find a way to be in relationship happily, is such an honor--it may not be total freedom, but it is lighting one corner of the world! A world we must all live in even if we practice Zen and see it with a Zen eye. We too fall in love, and get hungry, and with our recognition of the experience of consciousness we all share, we know this world can be better, and how much little things can make a difference.

So I find great value and beauty in the way of social work, the way of therapy, the way of social justice and compassion; there are many tools my training and engagement in these areas have given me that have no parallel in Buddhism. We all must live in this world and there are so many ways to make it better, kinder. That said, for me, Zen is the "royal road," the utmost gate to peace beyond all conditions.

Anonymous said...

Yawn.

Asura,Troll of Light said...

Harry, Steph, etc: hick christian trolls from Sac have arrived, like a locust horde (tho at times they pretend to be occultists). They must be stopped. Trace IPs.

katy yelland said...

Therapists don't give people advice about how to live... lol... have you ever actually seen a therapist?

Anonymous said...

zen-joodhists--

maybe ...peruse the 8-fold Path ( ie not the Sammy Harris school of insta-nirvana).

Molly said...

I'm not sure you understand the point of therapy. A therapist who gives you advice isn't a good therapist. A therapist who facilitates introspection and self-satisfaction is a good therapist. Ideally, therapy should teach you how to converse with and accept yourself, and how to cope with your problems on your own. Merely telling someone how to live (i.e. "advice") doesn't do jack shit.

posicionamiento en buscadores google said...

It can't really have effect, I think this way.