Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism ~ Pilar Jennings

Pilar Jennings was exposed to Buddhist meditation early in life. Her mother took her to her first meditation course at age 10, and her experience there has essentially influenced her spiritual and professional life ever since.

In this engaging and informative work, Mixing Minds: The Power of Relationship in Psychoanalysis and Buddhism (Wisdom Publications, on sale December 1, 2010), psychotherapist and long-time practicing Buddhist, Pilar Jennings, Ph.D., explains how she came to this world of “mixing and matching” healing traditions. Mixing Minds explores the interpersonal relationships between psychoanalysts and their patients, and Buddhist teachers and their Western Buddhist students. Through Jennings’ own personal journey in both traditions, she attempts to shed light on how these contrasting approaches to wellness affect our most intimate relationships.

Through her lucid writing, Jennings discusses the many radical differences and areas of synergy between Buddhism and psychoanalysis, with a focus on the primary relationships within each system. She explores how each tradition helps us enter into and sustain relationship, and how the core teachings of each tradition come to life by examining how Buddhist teachers relate to their students and how psychoanalysts relate to their patients.

Mixing Minds tackles subjects such as the assumption that one’s spiritual practice addresses the same issues/dynamics that are explored in therapy; cultural differences in the origins of these two practices as well as the differences in emphasis (spiritual/universalistic versus psychological/personal); the driving motivation behind the Western exploration of meditation and Buddhist teaching, as well as potential stumbling blocks along the path of practice for Western Buddhists.

Pilar Jennings in an engaging and fascinating interview, discusses:

• Why the focus on relationships is relevant to religion
• How Buddhism and psychoanalysis are different in their goals and methods
• How Buddhism and psychoanalysis are actually compatible healing traditions, and why they need each other
• How Buddhism is in fact a religion, and how this understanding can be useful to the psychological well-being of its practitioners
• The psychological pitfalls to practicing Buddhism as a Westerner
•Does therapy really work

Mixing Minds is one of the finest contemporary books on the dialogue between Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Jennings’ rich discourse examines the strengths and limitations of each discipline, clarifies the way in which they can complement one another, and consequently deepens your understanding and appreciation of these two great wisdom traditions.

Pilar Jennings, Ph.D. is a writer and researcher who has focused on the clinical applications of Buddhist meditation practice. She received her Ph.D. in Psychiatry and Religion from Union Theological Seminary, and has been working with patients and their families through the Harlem Family Institute since 2004. Prior to this training, she earned a Masters degree in medical anthropology from Columbia University, and a Bachelors degree in interdisciplinary writing from Barnard College of Columbia University. Pilar is a long-term practitioner of Tibetan and Vipassana Buddhism, and has studied with senior teachers in both traditions. She has also trained as a Buddhist chaplain through the Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Pilar Jennings lives in New York City.

In this clip, Dr. Jennings, author of Mixing Minds, discusses Buddhism and psychotherapy. For more information, visit http://www.pilarjennings.com.

Test to Determine Your Spiritual Growth

An excellent test to help you determine where you are on the spiritual path.
By: Anmol Mehta

Are you a Saint? A Zen Master? How about just a good human being? How do you know? What are the qualification? Are there any tests you can take to find out your spiritual growth? Yes there are.

There are lots of ways to test your spiritual progress and life is constantly doing just that by giving you tests to help you evaluate yourself in order to make spiritual progress. There are also many ways to assess your spiritual level proactively and in this article I will provide one such illuminating test.

Human beings are complex and so is life. I am glad it is so. The test I propose in this document is to evaluate some aspects of your being and is by no means a comprehensive examination. Perhaps I will come up with a more complete system down the road, but for now let’s try this one test to get us started.

This test will help you determine if you have the right perspective, the right spiritual attitude towards life, or if you have been snared by society and entrapped by the ugly web of attachment.

From my experience this one test, although simple, is quite revealing. It is incisive and cuts deep into your psyche to reveal the conditions under which you are currently operating. Using it, I can not only keep a sharp eye on if I am slipping into the jaws of ambition, but can also determine the state others are in, with regard to their “spiritual evolution”.

By no means am I suggesting that you start to use this test (or others I might propose) to start judging the world or yourself harshly. The test is simply to be used as an indicator, to give you insight and help you with your spiritual work. So here is how the test works.

Test To Determine Your Spiritual Growth & Mental State

Step 1: Take a few moments and determine what you are very passionate about. This can be your career, but, does not necessarily have to be so. It should be something, though, that you are actively engaged in doing and something that you feel deeply about. Here are some examples: Yoga Teacher, Professional Blogger, Health Care Professional, Technology Professional, Businessman, Politician, etc.

Step 2: In this field that you care very deeply about, think about someone who is enormously successful. Successful in all ways if possible. Someone who has made a huge amount of money in that field, become famous and is powerful. Now one more criteria is important about this person. If possible, have it be someone who you don’t like, or don’t agree with. The more you dislike their ways and methods the better, but the test will also work pretty well even if you don’t dislike the person or their systems.

Step 3: Watch your reaction to when you hear complimentary information about this person, or just hear about the success this person is having in their life. Be brutally honest, or you will just be cheating yourself. Does it create any negative wave within you? Any tinge of jealousy? Any feeling of irritation? Any feeling of frustration? Any feeling of hurt? Does it cause any ripple, any disturbance, in your psyche? The greater the disturbance the more the test indicates its time to get busy with your spiritual practice. Here is a more detailed analysis of the test results.

A negative reaction or disturbance can indicate the following with regard to your spiritual state.

1. Too Much Ambition
: You are probably focused too much on getting results and are overly ambitious. These attachments to the results can cause jealousy and ill-will towards those who have already achieved what you so badly seek. Another way to look at this is you may not be doing what your really love to do in life? This is the only way to be free of the clutches of society and gain oriented living. Doing what you love to do, will free you from everything. If this test produced negative waves, it could mean that you are only doing things to see what you will get out of them, instead of doing things for their own sake.

2. Non-Dual Perception of Reality: The test could also indicate that you are living excessively in an ego-centric way. You are seeing the world as full of separate people and focusing on the various personalities, instead of seeing the world in a non-dual light with all of creation being One and having nothing but divine nature. As Yogi Bhajan points out, “If you don’t see God in all, you don’t see God at all.” Are you seeing the Divine Nature of he who is getting under your skin? Are you seeing the Oneness of Reality?

3. Chasing the Wrong Things in Life
: If you have never thought about it, let me point out an interesting fact about enlightenment. In society there is so much competition because resources/rewards are limited. There are only so many top 10 Blogs, there is only 1 winner in the tournaments, there are only limited political seats, there is only 1 CEO, only so much oil, land, etc etc. This breeds competition and conflict. But Enlightenment is not limited. Just because I am enlightened, does not mean you can’t be also. We can all be enlightened (and are), so this is one of those things you can chase without worrying about having to wrestle it away from anyone else. There is no need to compete, it is an infinite, inexhaustible resource.

So this test implies that you are not exclusively chasing enlightenment. You are getting distracted and running around all over the place chasing useless stupid things. Time to buckle down and get back to the business of going after that which is the highest purpose of man. Time to fulfill your destiny.

Take this test from time to time, or be aware when life brings it your way. It is an insightful instrument to gauge your goodness and spiritual understanding.

Anmol Mehta is a Yoga Teacher & Zen Expert. See Free Online Yoga Exercise Videos and explore Free Hatha Yoga Poses Galleries on his extensive Meditation and Yoga site, Kundalini Yoga & Chakra Meditation.

Krishnamurti-What is the nature of conciousness-Part 4 of 8

Part 5 of 8

Part 6 of 8

“Is a man in Unity Consciousness ever in a hurry?” – Maharishi explains enlightenment

In the seventh and highest state of consciousness, which Maharishi (1972) calls unity consciousness, one experiences Being as the basis of and permeating all aspects of life: everything is perceived as nothing but expressions of Being. Even though the diversity of life is still appreciated, what dominates in unity consciousness is the experience that all aspects of life, from the most refined to the most manifest levels, are nothing but the self-interacting dynamics of Being, pure consciousness, the substance of our own transcendental consciousness.

For this reason, one is capable of appreciating all objects of perception in terms of the Self (pp. 23-8?23-9). The Vedic literature describes this experience: I am That (pure transcendental consciousness), thou art That, all this is That (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.10).

Recall that the Upanishads also declared that all fear is born of duality. Although a state of inner nonduality, or inner unity of the Self, is permanently achieved in cosmic consciousness in this first stable state of enlightenment, the inner Self stood separate from the outer, constantly changing, highly diversified world. Hence the outer world is still experienced as fragmented and completely different from the Self.

Only in unity consciousness is the gap between inner and outer reality, between subjective and objective existence fully bridged. As proclaimed in the Bhagavad Gita, in the highest state of enlightenment, one sees the Self in all beings, and all beings in the Self (His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 1967, p. 441). Thus all creation becomes as dear to one as the Self, and one experiences in the most profound sense, The world is my family (Maha Upanishad, 6.71). In this state, not only is fear unthinkable, one becomes maximally nourishing, harmonizing, and enriching toward all of creation.

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