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TOPIC: Kornfield on psychology, wounds and meditation

Kornfield on psychology, wounds and meditation 24 Oct 2012 19:48 #7619

Nice article by Jack Kornfield about the intersection of meditation practice and psychological issues. Really straightforward and honest (I think) assessment of how people can get into traps by not dealing with unhealed wounds, and how important it is to bring the insights of practice off the cushion:

mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/eve...-old-wounds-to-heal/
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Re: Kornfield on psychology, wounds and meditation 25 Oct 2012 07:53 #7620

I can only say, "Amen to that!"

Thanks for sharing the link, Ona.
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Re: Kornfield on psychology, wounds and meditation 25 Oct 2012 11:50 #7621

Thanks for the link, Ona! It's great.
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Re: Kornfield on psychology, wounds and meditation 26 Oct 2012 10:20 #7622

That's a great article. I found the following excerpt particularly helpful, and also attention grabbing:

"There are inner times when silence is necessary, followed by outer times for living and integrating the silent realizations, as well as times to get help from a deep and therapeutic relationship with another person. These are equally important phases of practice. It is not a question of first developing a self and then letting go of it. Both go on all the time. Any period of practice may include samádhi and stillness, followed by new levels of experiencing wounds and family history, followed by great letting go, followed by more personal problems. It is possible to work with all of these levels in the context of a spiritual practice. What is required is the courage to face the totality of what arises. Only then can we find the deep healing we seek – for ourselves and for our planet." (Emphasis mine.)

When I read, "It is not a question of first developing a self and then letting go of it," I'm reminded of the discussion we had here not long ago, regarding Jack Engler's infamous statement, "You have to be somebody before you can be nobody." Eran pointed out that Engler's position on this has changed since he first coined the phrase in Transformations of Consciousness. I would guess his take on self and not-self is now much more like what Kornfield conveys in the above.

I love me some Kornfield.
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Re: Kornfield on psychology, wounds and meditation 26 Oct 2012 12:54 #7623

Jackson Wilshire wrote:
When I read, "It is not a question of first developing a self and then letting go of it," I'm reminded of the discussion we had here not long ago, regarding Jack Engler's infamous statement, "You have to be somebody before you can be nobody." Eran pointed out that Engler's position on this has changed since he first coined the phrase in Transformations of Consciousness. I would guess his take on self and not-self is now much more like what Kornfield conveys in the above.

In the Engler article in the Mondo thread, Engler says this:

"The progression in extinguishing these fetters fascinates me as a psychologist. The first set of fetters that are extinguished are basically cognitive in nature—what a cognitive psychologist would call "maladaptive cognitions" or "core beliefs." In extinguishing these misguided beliefs about who we are, our basic understanding and perspective changes. But simply extinguishing basic beliefs and assumptions doesn't automatically shift the underlying motivations, impulses and emotions that can still drive us to act in ways that create suffering. Cognitively, we may relate to our experience differently, yet we can continue to act in the same neurotic ways. Not to the same extent, perhaps, but basically we can still find ourselves acting in unskillful ways that create a lot of problems. The second set of fetters reaches deeper into the psyche, into the affective or motivational bases of behavior. Motivations, impulses and affects are much more difficult to shift than cognitions and beliefs. The last set of fetters is extinguished at the fourth and final stage of enlightenment. The core of this group is called mana or "conceit." This is a remnant of the tendency to compare self with others—the root of narcissism. The last fetters really have to do with rooting out the final residues of narcissistic attachment to self from the mind. And that's more difficult to shift than the affective or motivational bases of behavior.

The same progression happens in therapy. Cognitions, beliefs, perspectives change first. Core drives, motivations and impulses are much harder to change. Hardest of all to change is narcissistic investment in the self. So when you say that ideally the realization of emptiness should free one from personal neurotic problems, I don't think it's that simple. I think the shifts take place in stages. What the tradition describes and what we've learned in therapy are exactly the same progression. That shift doesn't take place all at once."

I'm curious about how Kornfield sees the fetters and the progression of extinquishing them?
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