• Quote of the Day
    "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
    Kahlil Gibran, posted by David Baxter

Daniel

Forum Supporter
MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
21,130
Points
113
"You've been somebody long enough. You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody. Now you can work on becoming nobody, which is really somebody. For when you become nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no one trying to be anyone or anything. The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed -- and the natural state of the mind is pure love."

"In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight."

~ Ram Dass
 

Daniel

Forum Supporter
MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
21,130
Points
113
reminds me of Buddhism (the "self" is a painful illusion), Zen Buddhism (live spontaneously--"If you are hungry eat, if you are tired sleep"), Schopenhauer (the intellect can't compete with desire), Dr. Dyer ("connecting to source"), and the late Joseph Campbell (we need "myths to live by").

Regarding Schopenhauer:


Schopenhauer conceived the will as the universe’s essence; purposeful human actions are a small part of it. We do not directly perceive the will, but only its phenomena through the ‘Veil of Maya’, which, in contemporary terms, refers to the cognitive and perceptual limits imposed by our own biological species. This is why Schopenhauer posits that we have a representation (idea) of the world. We have a direct access to the will by perceiving our body’s desires. The will is insatiable and selfish.

Because of these will’s features, there is no possibility of collective or global salvation. However, individual or existential salvation may occur by denying the will through a path that includes: 1) an aesthetic experience particularly with the aid of art, that allows contemplation of the ´Platonic Ideas´, lessening desire and promoting knowledge through contemplation,; 2) the ethical experience refers to the insight about the unity of the universe, particularly by realizing the ubiquity of suffering and neediness, and 3) the metaphysical step which promotes compassion and asceticism. These philosophical principles may add to specific psychotherapeutic techniques in expanding the individual’s awareness beyond herself/himself, and thus arise and improve the psychological outcome...

How asceticism by conceived in contemporary terms? For our average fellow with emotional suffering, asceticism does not refer to the extreme self-denial and privations of worldly pleasures as depicted in some religious traditions. A parsimonious, but meaningful, asceticism can logically arise from recognizing the insatiability of the will and the restless lifestyle that derives from such insatiability. Hence, asceticism can be reframed as a healthy state of mind that includes some degree of austerity and detachment...

Clinical vignettes
In this section I briefly describe how I used Schopenhauer’s thought with four patients in my own clinical practice. Permission was obtained from these patients, and their identity is here concealed.

  1. This is a 63 year-old college professor who, while preparing his retirement, sought therapy to address his defensive attitude and the need he felt for being the center of attention in social encounters. Both features strongly deprived him from enjoying otherwise pleasurable activities. Therapy focused on assessing his cognitive distortions and rehearsing copying strategies before social interactions. He was particularly impressed by Schopenhauer’s aesthetic step to salvation (see page 456 above) of knowing without desiring and felt that by practicing contemplation, he could control his excessive need for attention, and thus, enjoy the present moment. He constantly remembers Goethe‘s expression: “The stars we yearn not after delight us with their glory” (6).

  2. This refers to a 46 year-old prosperous physician with a severe anxiety disorder. In spite of significant symptom reduction obtained through cognitive therapy and medication, he had a pervasive feeling of emptiness. He did an insightful reflection about the selfish and insatiable features of the will that he compared to his self-centered disposition, itself aggravated by the anxiety disorder. As an additional coping strategy during his anxiety crisis, he now sympathetically reflects about his families and friends’ unmet needs and how he can help them. He is thus developing compassion.

  3. This is a 24-year old girl with mild attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, non-incapacitating phobias, moderate irritability and performing anxiety. She came to therapy asking for help to face a critical step in her university career and to treat vaginism and dyspareunia in a long-awaited romantic relationship. She was shocked to find out that, after having successfully passed her exams and overcoming her sexual dysfunctions, she became even more anxious and worried. When discussing the pervasive feature of the insatiability of the will, she thought Schopenhauer’ expression “yet for one wish that is satisfied there remain at least ten which are denied” was very compelling. She identified herself with that thought and adopted it as an emphatic inner voice that now assists her in counterbalancing her negative evaluation of her achievements.

  4. After a very difficult divorce, a 50 year-old lady became obsessed about why things in her life happened the way they did. I introduced her to Schopenhauer’s approach to the art of tragedy (see page 457). Tragedies may arise from: extraordinary wickedness…, blind fate… but more commonly by the mere position of the dramatis persona with regard to each other, through their relations… (5). She found it very relevant when assessing her externalizing-prone attribution style. This reflection opened a door for her personal growth in such an important time in her life.
 
Last edited:

Daniel

Forum Supporter
MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
21,130
Points
113
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd: the longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”

- Fernando Pessoa

from The Book of Disquiet, ch. 196 (translated by Richard Zenith)
 

Daniel

Forum Supporter
MVP
Joined
Aug 5, 2004
Messages
21,130
Points
113
“The self is a mystery. In our efforts to pin it down or make it safe, we dissociate ourselves from our complete experience of whatever it is or is not.”

"Far from eliminating the ego, as I naively believed I should when I first began to practice meditation, the Buddha encouraged a strengthening of the ego so that it could learn to hold primitive agonies without collapse.”

― Mark Epstein, The Trauma of Everyday Life

3a1c16a47128d642dfdfe314dad4107c.jpg
 

Latest posts


Top Bottom