#1906 - Monday, August 30, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
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Featured is Part 10 of 13
the review/summary of The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and
, edited by John. L. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and Sheila
Krystal. Information about this book is available at http://tinyurl.com/4nxfq
Also featured are quotations from C. Kim, George Carlin, and
Margaret Cho. They might be viewed as edgy, controversial
and offensive to some, while humorous and freedom-loving to others.
The Sacred Mirror: Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy
Deconstructing the Self: The Uses of Inquiry in Psychotherapy and
~ ~ ~
Personal Experiences and Sources
Bodian studied Zen intensely in the early 70's, up to 1982, when he pursued
his own psychotherapy and studied psychology in graduate school. "I never felt
that Zen offered a complete approach to spiritual and psychological development.
In particular I noticed that despite numerous deep spiritual insights, I
continued to respond to certain situations with inexplicable anger, sadness, and
Bodian learned the standard psychotherapeutic interview as a new mode of
inquiry. The limitation of this approach was that it created new layers
While studying psychology he met Jean Klein, a master of Advaita. Bodian
had a powerful awakening under Klein that deepend and stabilized over ten years.
But there was still a split between the insight and the patterns of thinking and
behavior that were known as limitation and suffering.
Finally he encountered The Work of Byron Katie. "Under the influence of
(Byron Katie's) approach I finally discovered the already-exisiting, inherent
integration of awareness and the contents of awareness as a truly nondual,
"The inquiry that I describe in this essay, which now arises naturally with
my clients, draws upon The Work, the self-inquiry of Advaita Vedanta, and the
phenomenological investigation of experiential psychotherapy."
The Uses of Inquiry in Nondual Wisdom Traditions
Bodian refers to Donald Rothberg, who described five modes of spiritual
inquiry. Three apply to the nondual: systematic contemplation, radical
questioning, and critical deconstruction. Bodian speaks of these three modes in
relation to Zen, Dzogchen/Mahamudra, and Advaita Vedanta.
The following quotations are from the subsection entitled The Purpose of
Inquiry in a Nondual Approach to Psychotherapy:
"Nondual therapy is not a special method, approach, or set of techniques,
and certainly not a particular viewpoint. There are as many nondual therapies as
there are nondual therapists. It's actually an interaction between two people
that occurs in the absence of a viewpoint, agenda, or interpretive lens; if it's
truly nondual, it unfolds in a shared, resonant space or field in which the
apparent separation between client and therapist has dissolved -- or, more
accurately, doesn't apply.
"Interventions such as inquiry arise as a natural response to a
felt-from-the-inside dissonance or discrepancy between how the client interprets
reality and reality itself. This discrepancy, based on the illusory self, is the
root of all suffering."
"In its deconstructive approach, nondual therapy resembles other depth
psychotherapies, such as the existential-humanistic approach taught by James
Bugental. But instead of challenging and disclosing the client's 'self and world
construct system' (Bugental's term), only to replace it with a more 'authentic'
construct, nondual therapy gradually -- and gently, since there's no agenda,
just a natural orientation toward the truth -- deconstructs this system
"Unlike cognitive-behavioral therapy, which works to replace negative,
dysfunctional cognitions with more positive, functional ones, nondual therapy
doesn't necessarily discriminate between good and bad cognitions or try to
replace some with others. Rather, the fundamental understanding is that no
cognitions or concepts of any kind can possibly encompass reality as it is,
which is ultimately ungraspable by the mind."
Uses of Inquiry in a Nondual Approach to
"The foundation of a nondual approach to therapy is 'systematic
contemplation,' the process of 'being with' experience with bare attention,
without judgment or evaluation."
"'Radical inquiry' occurs in nondual therapy in the form of direct
questions." Such questions (e.g., 'Who are you?', 'What is experiencing this
emotion right now?') "directly point not to any object of awareness, but to the
background awareness itself, the vast, spacious context in which experience
takes place and that ultimately constitutes the client's true self."
"Rather than pointing directly to the context or background of experience,
'critical deconstruction' addresses the 'self and world construct system' that
tends to obscure this background." Byron Katie's four questions form one of the
most potent forms of critical deconstruction:
- Is this story true?
- Can you absolutely know that it is true?
- How do you react when you think that thought or hold to that story?
- Who would you be without it?
Applying Inquiry: Case Example
Bodian describes his work with a client who complained of extreme and
sometimes suicidal depression. Even during the period of therapy she had
attempted suicide, though it was apparently more a call for help. In this case
example the author demonstrates his use of the different classes of
Ultimately it could be said: "Rather than being 'deep-rooted neuroses'
requiring long-term psychotherapy, as many conventional psychological theories
teach, her problems ceased to exist for her in those moments when she stopped
investing them with psychic energy and identification. To some this approach may
seem like spiritual bypassing, but the truth is that exploring her issues in a
traditional psychological way for many years had just made them seem more solid,
real, and entrenched in (her) eyes and had provided more ammunition for her
perfectionistic, judgmental, self-loathing mind. Now that she could hold her
experience in an aware, expanded space and recognize her stories for what they
were, she rapidly went from an agitated depression with active suicidality to a
mostly calm, relaxed frame of mind in which the stories occasionally grabbed her
but didn't retain their grip for very long."
"I feel sorry for people who don't gold pan. When they wake up in
morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." -- C.
"When I read about the evils of prospecting , I gave up reading."
"Volunteer emergency personel are like toilet paper- no one
understands how valuable they are until they're really needed." --
Kem, Jan. 11th, 2004
"...There is a unique relation between ignorance and stupidity.
ignorance one has the chance to learn. One has the chance to
One has the chance to change. But with stupidity, one cannot
One cannot think. And one cannot change. Sadly, it is in
cases where it is not as much that they cannot as it is they will
And in those cases stupidity becomes death. For one cannot
one will not learn, think or change....It is the human spirit
imagination that has made the progress mankind has reached. And it
in the mental death brought on from the stupidity and death that
certainly bound to destroy us. How a non-living entity such
stupidity can grow and infect an entire planet is astounding.
what astounds us will scare us. And when it scares us, it may
well be too late...." -- C. Kem, speech on human ethics and
in international politics, College of Eastern Utah, Blanding Utah,
The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time,
someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people
there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job
Excerpted from WHEN WILL JESUS BRING THE PORKCHOPS? By George Carlin.
Copyright © 2004 by
George Carlin. All Rights Reserved. Published by
Hyperion. Available Wherever Books Are
THE TWO COMMANDMENTS
I have a problem with the Ten Commandments. Here it is: Why are there ten?
We don’t need
that many. I think the list of commandments was deliberately
and artificially inflated to
get it up to ten. It’s clearly a padded list.
Here’s how it happened: About five thousand years ago, a bunch of religious
hustlers got together to figure out how they could control
people and keep them in line.
They knew people were basically stupid and
would believe anything they were told, so
these guys announced that God—God
personally—had given one of them a list of ten
commandments that he wanted
everyone to follow. They claimed the whole thing took place
mountaintop, when no one else was around.
But let me ask you something: When these guys were sittin’ around the tent
this up, why did they pick ten? Why ten? Why not nine, or eleven?
I’ll tell you why.
Because ten sounds important. Ten sounds official. They
knew if they tried eleven, people
wouldn’t take them seriously. People would
say, “What’re you kiddin’ me? The Eleven
Commandments? Get the fuck outta
But ten! Ten sounds important. Ten is the basis for the decimal system;
it’s a decade.
It’s a psychologically satisfying number: the top ten; the
ten most wanted; the ten
best-dressed. So deciding on ten commandments was
clearly a marketing decision. And it’s
obviously a bullshit list. In truth,
it’s a political document, artificially inflated to
I’m going to show you how you can reduce the number of commandments and
come up with a
list that’s a bit more logical and realistic. We’ll start
with the first three, and I’ll
use the Roman Catholic version because those
are the ones I was fed as a little boy.
. I AM THE LORD THY GOD, THOU SHALT NOT HAVE STRANGE GODS BEFORE ME.
. THOU SHALT NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD THY GOD IN VAIN.
. THOU SHALT KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH.
Okay, right off the bat, the first three commandments—pure bullshit.
“Lord’s name,” “strange gods.” Spooky language. Spooky
language designed to scare and
control primitive people. In no way does
superstitious mumbo jumbo like this apply to the
lives of intelligent,
civilized humans in the twenty-first century. You throw out the
commandments, and you’re down to seven.
. HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER.
This commandment is about obedience and respect for authority; in other
words it’s simply
a device for controlling people. The truth is, obedience
and respect should not be
granted automatically. They should be earned. They
should be based on the parents’ (or
the authority figure’s) performance.
Some parents deserve respect. Most of them don’t.
Period. We’re down to six.
...that's it for now, purchase the book when it comes out on Oct 12...
~ ~ ~
How to spot a fake George Carlin piece on the internet:
rule of thumb, folks: Nothing you see on the Internet is mine unless it came
from one of my albums, books, HBO shows, or appeared on my website. If you see
something with my name on it, and you really need to find out if it's mine, post
a question on my bulletin board
. But only if it's really important to
you; don't fuck around with me for a lark." http://www.georgecarlin.com/
I Guess Not
I am a painfully shy person.
This poses many challenges of course, especially because I have put myself
in a very
un-shy profession, which forces me not only to speak in front of
thousands of strangers
daily, it constantly brings me into the company of
people I have never met before.
It is difficult for me to have conversations, which is something that I am
seeking to change. Whenever I am put in a situation where I am
sharing a space with
someone I don't know, I try to get to know them, almost
aggressively, as if I could make
up for all those years of self imposed
It is strange how we can be solitary in the midst of crowds of people. I
have lived this
way for my entire life. Aloneness is not an uncomfortable
thing for me, in fact, it feels
a bit too much like home. So I attempt to
venture out as much as I can. Of course, there
is a natural resistance to
it, but fighting my own nature in this case I believe is a
Besides, I am learning a tremendous amount.
I was driving into New York City last night, and the guy taking me was
countless people we routinely ignore every day. He was young,
obviously foreign, the
driver - it is always seemingly okay to talk about
people in certain service professions
such as the driver or the maid - as if
they are somehow not people, but their job. They
go unseen, and yet many of
them have fascinating lives, extraordinary adventures to tell
of. It is like
they are part of a mystical realm, that they have slipped into these
silent identities to go undercover. The incognito of lower class employment is
effective cloak for any dagger one might wish to hide. These are those
who we do not
think of, look at, talk to, yet these are those who have made
vast differences and shaped
the world, at least their part of it, immensely.
My young friend had an Albanian accent, which I would not have discerned as
unless he told me he had come from there. He worked 12 hours a day
and got stuck in
traffic that clients he picked up late would never
understand. He didn't like New York
because it was too fast, too hard, too
expensive of a city, admittedly a wonderland, but
only for the rich and
idle. He regretted that the life here changed people, that Albanian
once knew as modest and proper were now showing their legs without a care, but
he could look at them and in a moment their confidence would dissipate, for
culture and upbringing would shine like a sudden spotlight
beaming down from overhead and
shock them into the temporary blindness of
He is Muslim and he loves his faith, yet cannot make the time for prayer
when he is
trying to negotiate a town car through Midtown at rush hour. He
doesn't understand why
the Republicans are going to descend on the city that
they conveniently forgot. Lots of
New Yorkers are enraged that Bush is using
9/11 as a major bargaining chip in his
campaign, arming himself with NYC
beloved like Guiliani and trying to make the election
all about his personal
crusade against terror, when in fact Bush all but abandoned the
the tragedies, stiffing them on funding, opposing the creation of a 9/11
commission, and then refusing to testify once it was formed.
My friend wants to know how a man that claims to be "of God" can possibly
do so much evil
in God's name. He asks, "Isn't George Bush afraid of God?"
I guess not.