is interesting to note that current "cutting edge" psychotherapists
today look to the science of quantum physics and the spirituality of Buddhism
for conceptual models as well as experiential practices which they believe offer
the most efficient direction and effective means for constructive growth for their
a psychotherapist in Seattle and have been a friend of Bhante's since 1986. While
our training is different, as well as the language of our "fields",
Bhante and I find when we get together and talk that our experience and orientation
enables us to meet each other in common understanding. I think we both know that
though our paths may look different, they are made of the same elements.
the past 20 years I have studied various schools of psychological thought. My
focus throughout this time has been with forms of therapy which embody Theravada,
Mahayana, and Vajrayana Buddhist principles. The therapies I offer are called
Morita, Naikan, Hakomi, and Quantum. In the space provided in this Newsletter,
I will offer a brief overview of these therapies.
Therapy is a 70 year old purpose-centered, results-oriented therapy from Japan,
based on principles of Zen Buddhism. Instead of working to reduce symptoms, Morita
works to help people take action responsively in life regardless of symptoms or
natural fears. Acceptance of what is allows for active responding to what needs
doing. Dogmatic patterns of collapse are replaced with the flexibility to call
upon courage and empowerment. Decisions become grounded in purpose rather than
influenced by the fluid flow of feelings.
is named after its founder, Shoma Morita, a psychiatrist and Zen Buddhist. He
discovered nearly a century ago that patients into whose treatment Zen principles
and practices were incorporated improved better than other patients.
Morita is oriented to doing, Hakomi is oriented to being. Hakomi Therapy directs
your attention to your in-the-moment experience of feelings and thoughts as a
means to examine and reassess core beliefs. Core beliefs are the underlying structure
around which your experience, perceptions, judgments, attitudes, self-esteem,
and actions unconsciously organize, in turn influencing and maintaining the flow
of experience itself. We do this work together in order to transform the way you
organize all experience. The function of the Heart Sutra (...Form is no other
than emptiness; emptiness is no other than form...) might come to mind with this
description in that core beliefs are like a window through which your mind sees
what is, through which your mind thus applies meanings and judgments, and through
which you create the experience of the thing observed.
was created by Ron Kurtz about 20 years ago. A Laughing Buddha in his own right,
Kurtz integrated principles of such sciences as general systems theory and quantum
physics with the spiritual systems of Buddhism and Taoism. It's principles include
nonviolence, organicity, unity, mind-body holism, and mindfulness.
a major tool in Hakomi, is attention to present experience. It is "simply
noticing" what is so in your experience, without the addition of judging,
analyzing or even understanding. It is different than "thinking about."
In using mindfulness, we create opportunities which allow your unconscious a clear
chance to express and be seen, heard, and felt. We work with the interaction of
belief and experience, of conscious and unconscious, of mind and body. We work
to establish and enhance communication between parts of the whole of who you are.
Acknowledging, accepting, allowing, being, responding. In therapy, strong emotions
are sometimes felt and early memories come back with intensity and clarity. In
mindfulness these experiences can be examined and used to free you from the painful
unconscious compulsion to repeat them again and again.
Psychology®, a fairly recent development by Stephen Wolinsky, is a practical
approach to becoming mindful of the relationship between your automatic responses
and what triggers them, as well as the mechanism, itself, of those automatic responses.
It offers a means to enable you to stay in your adult experience of what is in
your present moment, and maintain rather than lose access to inner resources which
your automatic responses cut you off from. You are able to notice the mechanism
of your automatic response "trance" and thus exercise choice and control
over it. You are then able to respond more effectively and free of the emotional
charge of past experiences. More than any school of psychological thought today,
Quantum is both a theoretical and practical embodiment of both quantum physics
and such central notions of Buddhism as shunyata.
Quantum, one transcends the innumerable identities of self; in Hakomi, one transcends
the constraints of history; in Morita, one transcends the self imposed limitations
of the moment; and in Naikan, one transcends self-centeredness and lack of gratitude
Naikan was founded by Yoshimoto Ishin in 1935. Its roots are in the Jodo
Shinsu sect of Japanese Buddhism. In its pure form it is done from 5:30 AM to
9:00 PM over seven days in residence and then for an hour or two each day at home.
Simply, it is a form of introspection therapy in which you are in isolation and
reflects systematically on significant people, starting with your mother, and
focusing solely on these three questions: what you received from that person,
what you have given to that person, and what troubles you caused that person.
Compassion is greatly opened from such a practice.
the therapies described here, Naikan is least like a psychotherapy and is the
only one that focuses on the past. All the others focus attention on how you organize
around what is happening in the moment, and are oriented to empowering you to
make conscious choices in support of freedom.
further reading, see: Body-Centered Psychotherapy, The Hakomi Method, Ron Kurtz,
LifeRhythm, 1990; Constructive Living, David K. Reynolds, University of Hawaii
Press, 1984 (on Morita and Naikan); Trances People Live, Stephen Wolinsky, Bramble
Co., 1991; and Quantum Consciousness, Stephen Wolinsky, Bramble Co., 1993.
copyright New York Magazine, 7/23/01