Time To Accept We Can’t Change Others

February 1, 2011 by  
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Photo By Angie Rubin

Here is a hard one to learn; we can’t change others but we can change ourselves.  Why do I say it is hard?  Because we are so attached to proving our truth, intent and fairness are right that we keep coming up with new ways to express them.  And every attempt only brings us frustration and disappointments.

There is nothing wrong with trying to communicate our thoughts and feelings but what becomes a waste is when it is obvious that the recipient is not ready or doesn’t want to see things in a different way.  No matter how many alternatives you present for a different type of interpretation or relationship, you are not heard.  The other is stuck in their position and methodology and is not going to change no matter what we do.

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Viktor Frankl – Meaning Of Life

May 24, 2010 by  
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If you never read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, I highly recommend.  Dr. Frankl was a concentration camp survivor who credits his search for meaning under any circumstances as the key factor in surviving hunger, loss, violence and despair.  In the video below he says we have limited freedom in what happens in our lives but unlimited freedom in how we deal with pain.  He says so beautifully that if we can find meaning in all aspects of life we can turn even our loss and suffering into our personal success.  Watch the video.

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The Human Mind

November 18, 2009 by  
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I had lunch the other day with a fellow who held a rather dim view of the process of psychotherapy. He referred to its methodology as “hideously inefficient”, while granting that it actually served some valid purpose. A severe case of damning with faint praise. My somewhat defensive response ( I am currently in therapy myself, and there was also a friend present who is a therapist herself ) was that the hideous inefficiency of the process lies mostly within the human mind itself. I thought I was just trying to come up a clever response (which I was ), but it also strikes me that there is something to the idea. After all, the problems that plague the mind don’t lend themselves to fixes that are both quick and lasting. The quick ones, such as mind-altering substances, don’t last, whereas the array of options that hold out the possibility for real growth and transformation are invariably arduous and plodding in nature.

We were on a lunch break from a daylong Buddhist meditation retreat and the comment got me thinking about the innumerable lifetimes the Buddhists speak of in describing the journey toward enlightenment. I wonder whether this fellow has gauged the efficiency of a path that measures progress not in years but in lifetimes. Whether one takes this terminology literally or figuratively it does point to the laborious, lengthy and difficult task of reconfiguring the human mind in a way that accords consistently with a happy state.

The persistence of any of these algorithms or systems – the numerous forms of modern psychotherapy, as well as the variety of ancient spiritual disciplines – that are aimed at the problems of the human mind, points to the fact that human existence is plagued by a set of stubborn problems that simply won’t fade quietly away. The mind seems to be very good at solving an almost unlimited array of worldly problems with great efficiency. However, when it comes to resolving the thorny problems that beset its own nature, it keeps falling down on the job. Which isn’t really a problem at all, so long as we keep on getting up.

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