Labels are often very destructive in relationships. The picture above makes a great point indicating that someone whose face is always happy is likely hiding something. In my previous post I wrote about Buddhism and the wisdom from buddhism applies here. It applies here because emotional states are constantly in flux. Also it helps to have some cloudy days to appreciate a sunny day.
One type of label that is particurlalry damaging is called a totalizing description. This term comes out of the Narrative therapy tradition. Some examples of a totalizing descriptions are ADD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and Schizoaffective Disorder. Also totalizing descriptions could also be less clinical terms such as shy, having no self esteem, social anxietey and being overly sensitive.
The late Michael White stated, ” The process of applying psychiatric diagnoses to
clients and construing people exclusively in terms of these diagnostic
labels as totalizing techniques.”.
The Dalai Lama has been part of an organization Called the Mind and Life Institute which fosters a dialogue between western neuroscientists and buddhist’s. Recently the Dalai Lama received an award from the John Templeton foundation. Out of the money he recieved he gave 200,000 to this Mind and Life Institute.
In his acceptance speech, His Holiness explained his gift to Mind and Life by noting that the 21st century should be a century of peace and compassion. “That will not materialize through prayer and meditation,” he said, “but through education . . . [we have to] educate [young people] holistically. For many decades my special friends have been scientists, brain specialists. Many scientists find warm-heartedness, really bring inner peace. This is not just words: they carry out experiments, they convince through the training of the mind, through awareness of different sorts of values. A person’s mental state changes, their blood pressure reduces, stress also reduces. We are not talking about the next life; we are not talking about heaven. We are simply talking about how to build a healthy body through a healthy mind. Scientific research is immensely helpful.”I have had the pleasure of listening to his holiness Speak at Nova Southeastern University. What really struck about him is his humility and sense of humor.
Here is a brief overview of some of the fundamental Buddhist teachings. The Buddha was a very keen observer of the human condition. I think the beauty of these concepts is that you do not need to become a Buddhist to see their value or adopt them in your own life. One of the Noble truths in Buddhism is “anicca’ the truth of impermanence. The truth of impermanence is the truth that life is in a constant state of flux. Heraclitus an ancient Greek philosopher illustrates this point beautifully he says “You can’t step in the same river twice”. Being human beings gives us the ability to be cognizant of the truth that we are mortal beings. This awareness is a tremendous source of anxiety. However, this awareness is also what makes our lives and the choices we make meaningful.
The late Steve Jobs, who identified with Buddhism said, Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything: all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure… these things just fall away in the face of death… leaving only what is truly important.
This awareness is what separates us from other mammals. Time becomes sacred only when there is a finite amount of time; doing the right things and loving someone only have meaning when you do not have an eternity to work with it. Existential psychology shares a similar theme says that anxiety about being alive is an intrinsic part of life. It also states that to improve one’s life one needs to accept that anxiety is a part of life and any attempt to deny is at the root of all neurosis. Related to “annica” is the Buddhist concept of “anatta” meaning no soul or no self. This concept is commonly misinterpreted as Buddhist’s negate the idea of a soul or self. The teaching really means that Buddhist do not believe in a fixed unchanging soul. They believe in a soul that evolves and changes over time. A Buddhist would describe most human beings as “nothingness” that strives to be something. Only by characterizing our lives a one of movement rather than one of substance do we stand a chance at being an authentic being. Another teaching is that we suffer do to our tanha which means our clinging desire caused by being attached to fixed objects. I think it would be silly to avoid pleasure, happiness, and love. I also don’t think that all of our suffering comes from ourselves. Suffering is an inevitable part of life to live your going to encounter suffering. Another aspect of attachment is devesha, which means avoidance our hatred. To the Buddha hatred is just as much an attachment as clinging desire. It is only by giving the things that cause us pain permanence and solidity do we give them the power to hurt us more. The last aspect of attachment that the Buddha described is avidya meaning ignorance. This ignorance refers to not seeing reality as it is but instead only seeing your personal interpretation of it.
The Buddha himself said, “ Do not take anything I say to be true go out and test it fo yourself”.
I also encourage you to take Bruce Lee’s advice “ Absorb what is useful, discard what is not and add what is uniquely your own”.
Here this the new debut energy bar that I just created in collaboration with youbars.com. Its a fresh handmade nutrition bar. Its composed of organic almond butter, organic dates, whey protein, organic agave nectar, gluten free rice cereal, organic cashews, organic pumpkin seeds, organic goji berries, organic cacao nibs, cinnamon and organic maca powder.
There is a growing problem with obesity in america. There are a number of contributors to the growing obesity epidemic. Our diet is one of the major culprits. Many of us have stopped eating real foods an have replaced them with highly refined and processed foods. Because of this problem many people think they needs experts to explain to them how to eat. When in reality its actually very simple.
Take my friend Millie’s advice and eat food the way it is!