October 31

October, Thoughts For…

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | 3 Comments

Photo by Alexi Berry

31. Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future. Fulton Oursler

30. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. Ambrose Redmoon

It is Halloween weekend. I figured I’d put some quotes on fear.

29. If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. William Blake

28. To use this short finite life to grieve over the chaos of the world is like weeping into a river of tears for fear it will run dry. Only those that abandon worrying about the chaos of the world and create order in themselves can begin to understand Tao. Lao Tzu

27. To transcend the limitations of the mind, it is necessary to dethrone it from its tyranny as sole arbiter of reality. David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D.

26. Suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. Buddhist saying

Yesterday I had my first blog published on Psychology Today (you can find a link on this site). I also perused some of the other authors who are published on there and was attracted to a few articles with a Buddhist tone. In an article on love by Alex Lickerman M.D I found the above quote.

This quote seems to me to be more of a Taoist tradition then Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to overcome suffering through following The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment. In Taoism there is more of a yin and yang approach, where it is understood one state cannot exist without the opposite. I’m probably just splitting hairs, and both traditions add a great deal to understanding and finding more enjoyment in the human condition.

The real point is to be with what is, if there is suffering to be done, do it, get through it, don’t compulsively avoid it. But don’t compulsively engage in suffering either. Just be with what is when suffering is necessary (the end of a relationship for example).

25. Before a person studies Zen, mountains are mountains and waters are waters; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and waters are not waters; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and waters once again waters. Zen Saying

24. Love is perhaps the most powerful of human emotions. It is also the most overstated and most abused. Many people want to interfere with love. Ascetics want to deny it. Perverts want to distort it. Kings want allegiance for it. Merchants want to sell it. Poets want inspiration from it.

It is also one of the most vexing preoccupations in many lives. people suffer disappointments and think this is the fault of love. It isn’t. Disappointments have to do with things not being perfect, with things not matching. But this has nothing to do with love. Hurt and pain come as part of life. No one is exempt from it. But that is no reason not to love. Deng Ming-Dao (Everyday Tao, pg 165).

23. People have natural characteristics. You cannot make a gregarious man live like a hermit, or make a solitary man into a chatterbox. But all extremes, such as absolute solitude or continual company, are unnatural and to be avoided. Chuang Tzu

22. All I want from life at this point is to experience everything life brings me to its fullest. Berry

21. If my capacities have failed and my mental faculties have been dulled by the sands of time, and if this should result in me wandering homeless, I hope I am the guy you see holding the sign saying “I don’t want your money, I want you to love.” Berry

Homelessness is one of many future possibilities in my and many other people’s lives. Recently in some reading I was doing the author discussed how the view of a homeless person might vary depending on where the person perceiving is at psychologically. The homeless person might appear scary, might be pitied, or might be seen as someone who has transcended the need for material things and is enjoying the freedom they have acquired. This got me thinking to how I would want to present if this were a reality in my life. I am really coming to believe that love is the answer to much of what ills. Maybe I am becoming one of those new-age therapists after being in the field so long. Or maybe all this reading and meditating is pushing me in that direction. But whatever the reasons, put together the combination of wanting everyone to love, wanting to love more myself, and reading about possible perceptions of a homeless person, and hence you have my thought for the day. By the way, it might be nice for you to throw me some change anyhow if you see me out there, I might want a burger.

20. When I die, I will rot in the ground like everyone else. So many religious leaders simply want converts. (To get that and the financial gain they bring) they promise you great rewards and a guaranteed place in heaven. (Those that follow Tao are not guaranteed anything). We simply want insight into this life. We want the freedom to walk our way. Deng Ming-Dao~ thoughts in parenthesis reworded by Berry

19. The attainment of wisdom is slow and painful, and few are willing to relinquish familiar, even if inaccurate, views. David R. Hawkins

18. In order to change, in order to work toward our ideal self, we must first recognize and accept our dark side. Berry

17. On the left we have evil. On the right we have good. On the left we have our desires. On the right our aspirations. We have to come to terms with both sides of our personalities and make them work together (to attain enlightenment).

Notice that no one said anything about cutting off either side. The secret of Tao is to understand all parts of oneself, even the bad, and bring the into cooperation. Then the equilibrium that is so at the heart of following Tao is made possible. Deng Ming-Dao Everyday Tao, pg 160. (words in parenthesis altered for consistency by Berry).

16. In the world of knowledge, everyday something new is added. In pursuit of the Tao, everyday something is let go. Lao Tzu

15. People cherish and cling to their hates and grievances; to heal humanity it may be necessary to pry whole populations away from lifestyles of spite, attack, and revenge. David R. Hawkins

14. Who says I can’t be free from all of the things that I used to be? Rewrite my history. Who says I can’t be free? John Mayer

I seem to be running across quotes about being a slave to your thinking and freeing yourself from it. Cool.

13. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. Bob Marley~ Redemption Song

12.Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

11. If you want to be valued, first value others. If you want to be respected, first respect others. If you want to overcome others, first overcome yourself. if you want to humble others, first humble yourself. Lao Tzu

10. Love of our fellow man can ensue only when we stop condemning, fearing, and hating him. David R. Hawkins

I’ve been focusing a lot on “love” in my daily meditation lately: love for all, being a more loving person. Yet occasionally, especially with some of the horrible driving that occurs in the Miami area, I find myself condemning my fellow humans (other things to, but let’s just stick with condemning). Other reading I’ve been doing (besides the book this quote comes from) also discusses our ego’s natural tendency to put others down, to make judgments, to stereotype and categorize our peers on the planet. Although it may be natural (and in this I mean automatic) we have the power to recognize our thoughts and change them. One of my clients and I discussed the “energy” that comes with words, and how it can be positive or negative. If we can take our negative energy words (you know what they are, and yes I am aware I sound very “new age”) and challenge them and replace them with neutral, or in the best case, loving ones, everyone will benefit.

9. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. M. Kathleen Casey

8. When you are able to sit, then the meaning of your everyday life will be completely different. You will truly enjoy your life, because you are not attached to anything. Shunryu Suzuki

7. Just as your day creeps into your meditation, let your meditation come into your day. Berry

6. The suffering in our lives is for the most part caused by how we habitually react to life. It’s not life that has to change for us to be happy, it is us. Rolf Gates

A friend sent me an article about handling midlife with yoga, and this quote was in it. Its an excellent quote and a decent article, (which I related to, although I substitute meditation for yoga). You can access the article by clicking the link above.

5. You’re just a piece of the puzzle so I think you’d better find your place.

And don’t go blaming your knowledge on some fruit you ate.

Cause there’s been a great deal of discussion, yes, about the properties of man.

Animal or angel? You were carved from bone, but your heart it’s just sand.

And the wind is going to scatter it and cover everything with love. Bright Eyes-The Big Picture

I love Bright Eyes Lyrics, and this seemed pretty existential to me.

4. I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. Mother Teresa

3. The gift of hesitation is truly a gift to all parties. Berry

A client, in discussing an issue that arose during the week before, commented he hadn’t used the gift of hesitation. I’ve heard that phrase before, about hesitation being a gift. And in the weeks that have passed, I’ve kept that frame in mind; hesitation, a moment of contemplation, before reacting. It is a beautiful gift. When I am able to use it I don’t react and therefore save my partner in the disagreement grief. And I feel better about myself, feeling I am closer to the Buddha state I seek.

2. Just living is not enough.  One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Anderson

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Magic Sam. I had a slow day, and needed my car serviced. I have a great mechanic, and I am friendly with the receptionist and we were joking around. After a few minutes she announced “Ahh, Magic Sam is here. These two are the cutest couple.”

After a minute or so, Magic Sam and his wife entered the shop waiting area. Magic Sam explained his minor car issue to Lori, the receptionist. His wife sat quietly in one of the chairs. This couple, and I hate to guess ages, had to be close to if not beyond 80. They needed their car done quickly or they would need to leave it and get a ride, as they were going dancing. As Lori attempted to find whether the car would be quick or would need to be left, Sam approached my 19 y/o son and I. He read my shirt, which says in big letters “Community College.” He commented it didn’t say what city or state even. He had missed the small print in the middle that says “Easier than Real College.” (I went to community college first, so have a sense of humor). I pointed that out, but he wasn’t all that amused. He introduced himself and informed me I should go to college (apparently his vision is seriously impaired and he didn’t realize I’m no spring chicken) or I could learn a trade, like magic. He continued the discussion with David Copperfield, and I mentioned David Blaine. We discussed the magnitude of their celebrity. He told me even if I didn’t get that famous, I could make a living doing magic (apparently my casual attire indicated I don’t do very well financially). He then proceeded to do a few magic tricks for my son and I.

I’m not writing this because I was wowed by his magic. I’m writing it because of the zest for life he and his wife (of many years I am certain) demonstrated. I am told he’ll do magic at Publix for folks while his wife shops, then catch up with her before she finishes. I am told when he used to do shows, she would dance in the background. In one of their you tube videos, she dances with him. I am writing about them because Sam has created a wonderful meaning for his life. He and his wife seem happy together. (Most of you know I’m not some hopeless romantic waving the flag of happy long-term relationships. In fact I’m pretty far from that at this moment, but what they have seems genuine and beautiful). Sam seems to love his life. He talks to who he wants, and has an engaging personality. He wasn’t selling anything (although he did give my son and me a copy of some of the articles written about him recently). Even if he is marketing himself, it was no biggie. He was cute, and engaging, and friendly. Sam and his wife are a beautiful happy couple who embrace life. We can all only hope to be so happy at any time in our lives, let alone at a time seemingly much closer to the end.

As I left Sam and I were discussing fame as he spoke about youtube, and his being somewhat famous because he is on there. I said “You are certainly more famous than I.” His wife quickly replied to me as I passed, “Don’t you worry, you’ll get there.” Sweet.

1. If you aren’t working on yourself, you aren’t working. This quote is on a postcard in my office with a drawing of a Buddha. However, I cannot identify an author. I spoke at the Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society) meeting yesterday, and this quote was the theme of my discussion about being a therapist; you must constantly work on improving yourself as a person if you want to help others.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 31st, 2010 at 7:00 AM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “October, Thoughts For…”

  1. Lori on October 6th, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    Very nice William. They really are adorable. Thanks for sharing,


  2. William Berry on October 6th, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Oscar on October 8th, 2010 at 8:04 AM

    The sad part is that people like that are hard to come by. It seems that living the way they do is the exception to the rule. I can only hope I end up doing magic at random places.

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