i n t e g r a l   c o u n s e l i n g   i n s t i t u t e

                        e n e r g i z i n g    t r a n s f o r m a t i o n    t  h r o u g h    i n q u i r y ,   i n s i g h t ,   a n d   i n t e g r a t i o n

   

              February 2005 Book Review and Quotes Archive

 

                                                                          The Sacred Mirror
                                                         Nondual Wisdom and Psychotherapy
                                  Edited by John J. Prendergast, Peter Fenner, and Sheila Krystal
                                                          Published by Paragon House, 2003
                                                                         ISBN 1-55778-824-3

 

This collection of essays adds to the body of writing that attempts to integrate Eastern philosophies and Western psychologies,

addressing the specific impact of nondual experiences on the psychotherapeutic relationship.  Nondual wisdom is defined here

as ³the direct experience of a fundamental consciousness that underlies the apparent distinction between perceiver and perceived².  

Sacred Mirroring is multidimensional and practiced by therapists who are ³awakening ³ to the notion that they are not limited to

their ego identifications or their roles as therapist.

Connecting the chapters is the understanding that nondual awareness allows for the relief of suffering because suffering is caused

by the misperception that we are separate selves.  In terms of the therapy relationship, many of the authors discussed the practice

of being present (or Present as they often emphasized).  One author describes the process of our day-to-day experience of duality

as arising from the basic nature of our minds and bodies in space-time, ³the unified field of Awareness is split by the mind into

separate subject and object².  The act of ³being with² the client is to be attuned and enhancing the quality of the present moment.  

The therapist ³simultaneously identifies and disidentifies with the client¹s experience.  The capacity to identify is love, to disidentify

is wisdom².

Chapter discussions range from the use of EMDR as a tool for transpersonal work, inquiry into the stories of our selves, applications

of Yoga Nidra in psychotherapy, deconstruction of the self and of course the natural interface of Jungian analysis with a nondual

approach.

Nondual therapy is not a technique but rather something the therapist brings to the therapeutic relationship through their own

meditation and transpersonal awareness.  The client and therapist create a² resonant field² where the therapist experiences the

resistance, suffering and essence of the client as their own, because of course they are not separate!

It seems as I read this collection that many of the clients I see are
seeking to heal the self/ego versus those who seek a more transpersonal or transcendent therapy (what one author calls horizontal

versus vertical work).   But a therapist Œs own practice of meditation inquiry and awareness of nonduality infuses even more

traditional psychotherapy with expanded possibilities for our client¹s to tolerate and be present with all that is experienced.  We

become more able to hold what our clients bring to us from the embodied, relational samsaric self.  In identifying an emerging

spiritual evolutionary task, one of the essayists, John Welwood noted, ³We have not yet learned to fully stand in our humanness

while also being able to step beyond it, to be true persons, with one foot in the absolute and the other foot planted in the

transformative process of interpersonal relationship.²

A challenge to integral psychotherapists everywhere! (Review 02/05)

 

 

                                        February 2005 Weekly Quotes    

 

"Nondual wisdom refers to the understanding and direct experience of a fundamental consciousness that underlies the

apparent distinction between perceiver and perceived. From the nondual perspective, the split between self and other

is a mental construct. This understanding, rooted in the direct experience of countless sages through millennia, is

at the heart of Hindu Vedanta, most schools of Buddhism, and Taoism, and mystical Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Nonduality is a particularly elegant and clear formulation, since it describes reality in terms of what it is not (unsplit,

undivided) rather than what it is. It has the added advantage of being nonsectarian, unhinged to any particular religious

or psychospiritual tradition, yet adaptable to many. It is a word that points to that which is before and beyond the

projections of a separate, self-reflexive mind. What is pointed to can never be adequately conceptualized. It can only

be lived in the timeless now"

John Pendergast, from "The Sacred Mirror".

 

"It may be helpful to think of psychotherapy, and all of life for that matter, as having a horizontal and vertical dimension.

The horizontal refers to the realm of form, the evolution of phenomenal life in time and space. The vertical refers to that

which is formless and exists outside of time and space. Psychology, like all disciplines, evolves on the horizontal

plane as new information about the development and functioning of the human body/mind is discovered and synthesized,

leading to new schools of thought. While the concept of nondual awareness has already been incorporated horizontally

into Transpersonal and Integral, it's main effect occurs vertically as practitioners deepen in their intimacy with their true

nature."

John Pendergast, from "The Sacred Mirror".

 

"The not-doing that I have been-doing has been disatisfying like feeling put-upon by baking a pie instead of oneness

with the pie."

Shelley Norton

 

"When we ask what makes a happy and meaningful life, one problem that can arise is the tendency to respond with an

answer that doesn’t really come from the heart. At such times the conscious mind has one answer and the unconscious

has another, so we become conflicted. An easy way to tell if you suffer from such an inner conflict is to see how well your

daily activities match up with your beliefs. If you say that family is important but somehow don’t find much quality

time with yours each week; if you say that spirituality is important but spend only a few hours a week actively engages

in spiritual practice; if you say that helping others is important but you can’t think easily of recent examples of your doing

so, then there’s probably a significant gap between the beliefs you hold consciously and the unconscious ones that are

running your life."

Lorne Ladner, Ph.D., The Lost Art of Compassion

 

 

                                                   

 

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