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Already Free (book review) Bruce Tift

Buddhism Meets Psychotherapy on the Path

230317: excellent. this is exactly the contrast/comparison between these two ways of thought, through western interpretation and eastern experience, that I have wanted to find. my interpretation and experience of both have been conflict to reconcile, because both seem to be correct in different ways, but it is only after reading some deleuze that I can allow the logic, of 'and' this, 'and' this, 'and' this, rather than dualism of binary sort, 'this' or 'that'. central idea the author promotes, that could be called 'thesis', is exactly what I have searched for, to recognise how these ways of thought are similar but not identical, how these ways how these ways follow theme identifiable to their culture of birth, how these ways can inspire and interrogate each other, how these ways are both 'true' according to each frame, how these ways support each other, how through all the philosophy I have read there are recognisable insights and assertions...

first to note is the order of terms in the title: this is indeed buddhist encounter with psychotherapy, so Buddhism comes first, is the 'groundless ground', or course of great lineage and history of 2 600 years, and psychotherapy is only less than hundred years old, cross-cultural work even more recent. second to note is the concept of 'Path', which informs both terms, and 'Liberation', which is promised by both...

central idea, or 'thesis', is that there are two ways of understanding the human mind: developmental, and fruitional. developmental is the particularly western approach of psychotherapy, with attention directed to personal history, mostly family dynamics when powerless child, creating strategies necessary to survive traumatic intensity, strategies which are no longer effective as an adult, in adult situations, with adult power. this is process of uncovering past traumas affecting current life through memories, which are by nature impotent, the past is past, to force change, but have become familiar, the struggle constant, otherwise defused as neurosis, and- somehow-'entertaining'. the author uses the metaphor of an exciting film that momentarily removes us from banal existence...

in developmental forms, in psychotherapy, there is felt need to recognise this is indeed fantasy. that we are no longer powerless child, that significant others in our life are not either cruel or protecting parents, that we can free ourselves from the entrancing drama of that film by practice, by analysis, by concentration. we strengthen our selves so we can become adults governed by something like wisdom, not children ruled by fear and desire...

and this is the fruitional form of understanding the mind though buddhist thought, where the key is not historical, developmental, but experiential. the key is to let go of all the interpretive frames we apply to our experiences, inhibitory, in development, in the moment, and become entirely aware. aware of content, aware of self-narration, aware of awareness. this can of course lead to anxiety, but solution is not to run from it, not to avoid it, instead to face it and see it is illusory and cannot hurt you. this can be counter-intuitive. there are evolutionary reasons of some value to account for some anxiety, but otherwise we should ask ourselves if this is applicable...

this book might only work is you have read some Buddhism, some philosophy, some pychology, , and though there are moments of returning to cloud-cloaked ignorance world, there are moments also of clarity and great vistas...


[book:Existential Psychotherapy|21032]

[book:Psychotherapy without the Self: A Buddhist Perspective|1785961]

[book:Buddhist Understanding of Childhood Spirituality: The Buddha’s Children|34203677]

[book:The Original Buddhist Psychology: What the Abhidharma Tells Us about How We Think, Feel, and Experience Life|32592503]

[book:What the Buddha Thought|6980500]

[book:Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment|32895535]

[book:Nietzsche and Buddhist Philosophy|22619704]

[book:Buddhist Philosophy: Essential Readings|6531274]

[book:Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis|1709074]

[book:Empty Words: Buddhist Philosophy and Cross-Cultural Interpretation|1639206]

[book:Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction|2487511]

[book:The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā|1048288]

[book:Self, No Self?: Perspectives from Analytical, Phenomenological, and Indian Traditions|10336218]

[book:After Buddhism: Rethinking the Dharma for a Secular Age|25246817]

[book:Philosophers of Nothingness: An Essay on the Kyoto School|979829]

[book:The Kyoto School|21349529]

[book:Nishida And Western Philosophy|8274818]

[book:Buddhism: A Philosophical Approach|18443946]

[book:What the Buddha Thought|6980500]

[book:Wisdom Beyond Words: The Buddhist Vision of Ultimate Reality|4329466]

[book:Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction|2487511]

[book:An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy|2280672]

[book:Why I Am Not a Buddhist|44439993]

[book:Why I Am a Buddhist: No-Nonsense Buddhism with Red Meat and Whiskey|6716321

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