Dr. Mark Epstein’s Thoughts Without A Thinker discusses psychotherapy with a Buddhist perspective in a very coherent manner. It makes on appreciate the breadth of Buddha’s teachings as it extends towards ‘Applied Buddhism’ as it were.
When one removes the ceremonial trappings from Buddhism, it is essentially a study of how to contemplate upon, how to tame and to discipline, and eventually how to conquer one’s mind. What better discipline than to apply it with than psychology and psychotherapy.
Epstein’s book is a classic and an informative and thought-provoking intellectual read which expands our minds to an additional way of considering both Buddhism and psychotherapy.
I highly recommend Thoughts Without A Thinker.
(c) Niconica 2012
Attraction to a person can be argued to be an involuntary function of the body whereby its cause can either be biological-psychological or karmic. It does not make any sense because the attraction is formed in an instant with what appears to be superficial reasons. Our emotions then tend to overwhelm our reason and we get drawn into the flames of infatuation.
Whilst watching this all-encompassing infatuation play out on the big screen is amusing, it does not always pay off to emulate the dramatic impulsivity in real life because more often than not, the flames tend to burn us–to a crisp, if we are not careful. We try to backpedal and talk ourselves out of indulging in our feelings and it becomes a frustrating process because humans seem to be more emotional than logical at the best of times, what more when something is at stake.
If we have acquired significant romantic experience and learned from it somehow, we would realise that these forays into dating yield more unpleasant results than our hoped-for fairy tale conclusions. It behooves us to consider all the factors involved closely before jumping headlong into a romantic entanglement with a person wh we had just met and do not know too much about except that we fancy them because appearances deceive in the grandest of ways.
If there are warning signs lighting the path, we must consider them seriously because they exist for a reason. More often than not, the warning signs don’t count for anything when we are intensely set on a certain person and we are drawn to see the situation to its culmination be it positive or negative. This has happened to the best of us and we end up hoping and praying that we come through the flames alive somehow. Here’s to hoping.
(c) Niconica 2012
We get to a certain point in our lives where we have been emotionally damaged to a certain degree where we become incredibly cautious simply because we do not wish to expose our vulnerabilities. It protects us to a certain extent and then this emotional armour starts becoming counterproductive because we start living a halflife trying to minimise our pain and our losses and we don’t really allow ourselves to risk opening up and seeing what possibilities may be in store.
We are sometimes so used to coping and protecting the remnants of our emotional selves and we start to think that we are okay and we are well. We defend ourselves against additional onslaughts of possibly hurtful situations that we forget that we have not done any inner work with the parts which need healing. We are so invested in guarding our vulnerabilities that we forget to recognise, acknowledge, and face our vulnerabilities and work to overcome them.
There comes a certain point where we get so caught up with the upkeep of our emotional defenses that we start to believe that we don’t need love or emotional connection because we don’t want to ever be in the position to be hurt again. When the opportunity comes along to get to know someone better, we go on auto-pilot and run from the situation thinking that we are better off without such distractions. This denial which springs from our vulnerabilities can be harmful to our growth because we eventually wonder whether we are merely being careful or are we too careful that we lose out on experiences.
There is no easy answer for what to do next or how to recover from past emotional traumas and how to move forward. It cannot be denied that exposing ourselves to more people and experiences increases our chances of being hurt and therefore more damaged than the status quo.
However, without taking a step forward headlong into a reckless path and without moving back into the refuge of our intricate psychological defense mechanisms, now would be the perfect time to contemplate about the nature and presence of our vulnerabilities and look at our denials straight in the eye. Which vulnerability is our vehement and angry denials protecting and why are we acting this way? Is it relevant to our psychological journey at this point in time or is it outdated? This is where as begin.
(c) Niconica 2012
Chronic misunderstandings within a relationship be it a friendship or a romantic relationship can be a symptom of an underlying incompatibility and it must be taken seriously.
During the first few manifestations of discord, we must pay attention to our communication styles and try to achieve some sort of understanding of the other person and the matter at hand and work towards an amicable resolution.
During the next few times arguments or misunderstandings occur, we must still seek to understand the other person’s perspective and examine whether we have neglected to see their point of view and endeavor to achieve harmony.
However, when it has been going on far too long and far too often, it’s time to realize that there might be some fundamental incompatibility present which gives rise to differences which are not necessarily irreconcilable but difficult to reconcile.
It might be at this point when we have to seriously ask ourselves whether prolonging the relationship would cause more mutual harm than just detaching and letting go.
Sometimes it’s not because we don’t care about the person but it is precisely because we do care about them as well as ourselves that we decide to minimize harm and walk away.
(c) Niconica 2012