Archive for September, 2010

Clinical Psychologists’ Perceptions of Persons with Mental Illness | Brain Blogger.


msnbc video: Countdown Special Report: Small in name only.

Jon Stewart has the right idea –

COLUMBUS AND OTHER CANNIBALS has been a well-received book for many years, and now in a new revised edition it may have a greater chance to become a major influence on current thought and action. The new (2008) edition has two new chapters which take unique looks at terrorism and an inspirational poem, “The Universe is Our Holy Book” expressing my interpretation of Native American philosophy.

CANNIBALS is focused upon my use of the Native American concept of the “Wetiko” psychosis, the disease of cannibalism. I believe that the exploitative consumption of the earth, the living creatures of the earth, and, above all, other human beings and their homelands, constitute actual, real, unmitigated cannibalism. Tragically, the cannibalism of which I write has become more and more an acceptable part of modern economic and personal exploitation, with those who do the consuming giving little or no thought to the diminishing or even elimination of the lives of those at the receiving end of their quest for profit and super-sustenance.

But CANNIBALS is not simply about the mental disease that has infected so many of the powerful on the earth. If that were the case, it would be a vital exposure of the evils of rabid consumption, but it would provide no answers or any antidote.

It has been my intention that CANNIBALS, instead of dwelling solely upon the evils of violence, aggression and one-sided economics, should offer insight into the ancient spiritual philosophies of Native Americans and contrast the core of Indigenous beliefs and actions with the “empire-building,” “getting bigger,” “more and more” notions which have come to dominate many churches, religions, nation-states, corporations, groups, and even individuals and their families.

I set forth the notion that our true religion is what we do, what we think, what we say, what we dream of, what we strive for, what we are, every single moment of every day. Thus one cannot say that one is born again, that one is saved, that one is guaranteed a spot in heaven, simply on the basis of formal adherence to a particular “faith.” On the contrary, I would argue that no membership or other form of sectarian approval may cause one to escape from one’s very own self and one’s actual deeds.

Thus all of us are responsible for the way we treat other living creatures and the Mother Earth. We cannot escape by hiding in huge temples or high-powered jet planes or tall office towers or in fancy yachts or swift sports cars, or even in cloistered monasteries. Wherever one is, one must be on a good path, a spiritually beautiful path, if one is to avoid being an exploiter or a beneficiary of aggression. This is not, however, a matter of dogma or adherence to a restrictive philosophy, but is simply a recipe for a good life where mistakes can and will be made, but can also be overcome by the discovery of a better path.

Tragically, this new century presents huge challenges for all of us on Mother Earth. CANNIBALS helps us to understand that not only can we not continue along our destructive paths but that the accumulation of Wetiko deeds has accelerated to the point where we face severe environmental and societal hazards such as to threaten the very fabric of life on this incredibly beautiful and loving planet. We are destroying our home with our grasping after wealth, power, advantage, and materialism. We seem willing to push selfishness (individual and national) to an obscene degree.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult for the ordinary person to have an impact upon the governments of aggressively self-centered countries (which list happens to include three or four of the largest on the planet). But it is only by changing our ways of thinking and doing, individually, and then collectively, that we can have any impact upon the huge organizations which seem immune to common sense and decency.

Jack D. Forbes, July 2008


We need, Roosevelt told a massive assembly of 30,000 listeners, to “destroy privilege.” Ruin for our democracy, he warned, will be “inevitable if our national life brings us nothing better than swollen fortunes for the few.”

The August Day Plutocracy Would Love Us to Forget |

Tao Teh Ching

The Tao is like an empty bowl,

Which in being used can never be filled up.

Fathomless, it seems to be the origin of all things.

It blunts all sharp edges,

It unties all tangles,

It harmonizes all lights,

It unites the world into one whole.

Hidden in the deeps,

Yet it seems to exist for ever.

I do not know whose child it it;

It seems to be the common ancestor of all, the father of things.

This speaks of the Higher Power, the Creator, the father/mother of all things.  In reading this I was struck at my core and needed to read it over and over.  The power of an empty bowl never being filled up.  To me this means that Gods love never runs out.  It is unconditional and truly does blunt all sharp edges.

I’ve been going through a difficult time at work.  My hungry wolf (Addict) has been talking at high volume, telling me I’m not capable, that I should have handled a situation differently.  Listening to this voice I walked into a situation, reacted and presented myself with rough edges.  What brought me out of this situation was the Tao that unties all tangles, harmonizes all light.  Hidden in the deeps, Yet it seems to exist for ever.  That is the beauty of the spirit.  It does live on for ever.  Hidden in the deeps of our souls.  I was able to reach into the deeps of my soul for comfort and solace.  I was given guidance in the form of people brought into my path who were able to support me and offer words of wisdom.  I needed to be reminded by my friends to turn over my anxiety, fear and doubts to father/mother of all things.  This is the spirit in action.  It does unite the world into one whole.  It is the common ancestor of all, the father/mother of all things.  This is where I find my comfort and solace.

Albert Einstein warned, “The illusion that we are separate from one another is an optical delusion from our consciousness.” Just as we are not separate from one another as humans, our mind, and body are not separate.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, (Author of several books, for the purposes of this article, “Anger, Wisdom for Cooling The Flames”,) states in his book on Anger, “In the teaching of the Buddha, we learn that our body and mind are not separate. Our body is our mind, and, at the same time, our mind is our body.” For the purposes of this discussion on anger and learning how to handle our anger, we will view anger through this paradigm. To pay attention to our anger, we need to concentrate on the physical aspects, as well as the mental details of our anger.

Western medicine is beginning to pay attention to what happens to the body, as well as, what happens to the mind and vice versa. The eastern world has known this for some time now. Modern scientific medicine is beginning to see the sickness of the mind and body, are one. They are not a separate entity.

To examine our anger or consume our anger, Thich Nhat Hanh says, “We must pay more attention to the biochemical aspect of anger, because anger has its roots in our body as well as our mind. When we analyze our anger, we can see its physiological elements.” To start, I want to share a tale that originates in the Mideast, The Withered Trees.

The Withered Trees

There was a soul whose very bad temper had cost him more wasted time and loss of good friends than any other element in his life. He approached an old wise man in rags and asked, “How can I ever bring this demon of rage under control?” The old man instructed the younger man to post himself at a parched oasis far off in the desert, to sit there among all the withered trees, and to draw up the brackish water for any traveler who might venture there. And the man, trying to overcome his rage, rode out to the desert to the place of the withered trees. For months, garbed in robes and burnoose against the flying sand, he drew the sour water and gave it to all who approached. Years passed and he suffered no more fits of temper. One day a dark rider came to the dead oasis, and gave a haughty glance down at the man who offered him water from a bowl. The rider scoffed at the clouded water, refused it, and began to ride on. The man offering water was immediately enraged, so much so he was blinded by it, and seizing the rider down from his camel, killed him on the spot. Oh la! He was immediately aggrieved that he had been consumed by such rage. And look what it had come to. Suddenly, up rode another rider at great speed. The rider looked down upon the visage of the dead man and exclaimed, “Thank Allah, you have killed the man who was on his way to murder the king!” And at that moment, the cloudy water of the oasis turned clear and sweet and the withered trees of the oasis blushed green and burst into joyous bloom.

We understand this tale symbolically. It is not a tale about killing people. It is a teaching about not unleashing anger indiscriminately, but at the right time. The tale begins when the man learns to give out water, life, even under drought conditions.

I recognize many of us never learned how to deal with feelings, much less anger. In many cultures, men were socialized to stand up and fight, that it was the masculine thing to do and God forbid, if they exhibited tears. A woman, on the other hand, was socialized to put a good-looking face on the surface, not express anger outwardly, and if a woman did speak out, as a rule, she was labeled a “bitch”.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in her book, “Women Who Run With The Wolves,” states that, “Men and women may carry a form of scattershot rage that compels them to pick, pick, pick, or use coldness like an anesthesia, or give out sweet words while meaning to punish or demean. They may force their own will on those who are more dependent on them or may threaten them with severance of a relationship or affection.” Like the man in the story, many of us decide to embark on a cleanup campaign, vowing to be nicer, not to drink, swear, yell, and be abusive or whatever our vice may, be. I can remember, prior to finding my sobriety through Alcoholic Anonymous, I was “Born Again” several times as a Christian. Apparently, I felt it did not work the first time, seeing that I would revert to using mood altering chemicals and all the detrimental behaviors that came with it. We find, as the man in the story did, that the cleanup campaign does not generally work. We cannot extinguish the flame of anger and rage by sitting on it or medicating it with alcohol and drugs. What happens with the man in the story, will happen with us. “The man offering water was immediately enraged, so much so he was blinded by it, and seizing the rider down from his camel, killed him on the spot.” This man thought he had conquered rage after years passed, and he suffered no more fits of temper, but that was not the case. You cannot extinguish your rage by hiding out by withered trees or in a bottle of alcohol.

Countless times when an individual has said and done something to injure us, we want them to suffer as we do. We want vengeance. We think that if they agonize as we do, it follows that will make us feel better. In truth, what generally happens is the other person wants to hurt you back. It perpetuates the vicious cycle of anger and hate. Thich Nhat Hanh proposes that when someone hurts us, we should go back to our suffering, to our anger and pay attention to it. Even so, most of us don’t want to do that. We want to go with our anger, follow our suffering. We want to pursue the person who hurt us and hurt them back.

Thich Nhat Hanh states that if your house is on fire, the most urgent thing to do is to go back and try to put out the fire, not to run after the person you believe to be the arsonist. He suggests that when you are angry, if you continue to interact with or argue with the other person, if you try to punish her/him, you are acting exactly like someone who runs after the arsonist while everything goes up in flames.

I introduced this article by saying you can’t separate the body and mind. Clearly, the story of, “The Withered Trees”, illustrates this. We can separate our body from drugs and alcohol, but if we don’t work on cleansing our mind, healing our soul, our demise will be like the man in the story, what we call “dry drunk” in the recovery world. Moreover, as stated earlier by Thich Nhat Hanh, “We must pay more attention to the biochemical aspect of anger, because anger has its roots in our body as well as our mind.

The Buddha gave us an effective means to put out the fire in us: it is called mindfulness, living in the moment. One must embrace the anger, listen to what it says, and learn from it. Anger can and will be a teacher if you allow it.

I want you to try this for a week: Thich Nhat Hanh says, “to breathe in consciously is to know that the air is entering your body, and to breathe out consciously is to know that your body is exchanging air. Thus, you are in contact with the air and with your body and because your mind is being attentive to all this, you are in contact with your mind too; just as it is.” This is mindful breathing. This is tool to use to help embrace your anger and learn from it.