Anger

Contempt, Attachment and Meditation

My wife and I are older parents. We like to think we have much wisdom to pass on, but we have to be mindful of negative things we also can pass on.

Age brings healthy skepticism, and raising a daughter who reasonably questions authority will not be a bad thing. However, cynicism often accompanies skepticism, and the last thing we want is a cynical child. Childhood should be about wonder and possibility. Cynicism can quickly kill that. So we have to keep the negativity in check.

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Mindfulness

Using Karma to Recognize Difficulty in Our Relationships


With origins in ancient India, the term karma stems from the sanskrit word for “action, work or deed.” Karma not only applies to tangible actions like our words and deeds, it also applies to unseen energies like thoughts, intentions and emotions.

Under the spiritual law of karma, our intent and actions (cause) directly influence our future, and therefore our present (effect). For example, good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness; bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering.

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General

Focusing: A Path Toward Befriending Feelings

During the 1960’s, the psychologist and philosopher Eugene Gendlin asked a simple question: why do some people make progress in psychotherapy, while others don't -- and what is happening within those individuals who are benefiting from therapy?

After analyzing hundreds of taped therapy sessions, Gendlin and his team discovered that they could accurately predict after one or two sessions whether or not therapy would be successful. Surprisingly, positive outcomes were not linked to the orientation of the therapist, but rather to what these clients were doing within themselves.

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Mindfulness

5 Common Spiritual Ego Traps (and How to Avoid Them)


Though many of us may have a love-hate relationship with our ego, it’s necessary to remember that it serves an important spiritual role. In the positive, it gives us a distinct personal identity that helps us fulfill our life purpose, allowing us to share unique soul gifts with the world while working out our karma.

In the negative, the ego fools us into becoming overly identified with our bodies, thoughts and emotions. This attachment tricks us into believing we are fundamentally separate from God, one another and even our own souls, which leads to suffering. Over time, enough profound suffering eventually leads us back to God, completing the cycle.

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Bullying

How Spirituality Can Shape Our Self-Esteem


Some children aren't spiritually inclined, but many are. Is this because their tender, innocent awe for all things alive and imagined hasn't yet been trounced by trauma, teasing and/or adult logic? Is it because angels, deities and saints are magical beings on par with elves, fairies, imaginary friends and Queen Elsa of Arendelle? Is it because their memories of past lives still feel fresh? Is it because it is the nature of the young, for better or worse, simply to believe?

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Brain and Behavior

How to Avoid Being Hurt at Church

I consider myself to be highly spiritual. Just like many other people throughout the world, I go to church, read the Bible, and try very hard to demonstrate love wherever I go. Over the years, my spirituality has allowed me to develop a great respect for church leaders and the work that they do. Yet, I quickly realized that church leaders are human and sometimes they make mistakes. So, what happens when the people who you respect so much let you down?

Not all church leaders are manipulative or bad. In fact, I believe that most are amazing men and women who have a strong desire to help others. However, every individual, regardless of role, has imperfections. Sometimes these can result in miscommunication, hurt feelings, anger, and even a flareup of mental health symptoms among the most emotionally vulnerable people.

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Anger

The Fallacy of Unconditional Love: Why Selfless Loving Doesn’t Work & What Really Does

Wouldn't it be great to find someone who loves and accepts us as we are? Many times during psychotherapy sessions, my clients have uttered some version of, “I just want to be unconditionally loved! I want someone who can accept me with my flaws and foibles.”

I’m very sympathetic to our desire for a partner who is not bent on fixing and changing us. As psychologist
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General

Pride Is Nothing to Be Proud of: What We Really Need to Feel Good About Ourselves

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"I’m proud of myself for having graduated from college and for my accomplishments in life. I pride myself on being punctual and for having strong moral values. I’m proud of my beautiful home and garden."

These are some of the things that might swell us with pride. But what exactly is pride? Does it serve us or trap us? How does it differ from dignity?
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Happiness

How to Awaken Your Soul After a Broken Heart

"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction." -- Cynthia Occelli
There are no two ways about it. Heartbreak squeezes you as though you were an orange, crushes you as though it were a tractor, and cuts sharply as a razor blade.
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General

Stop Working On Yourself to Further Your Growth! The Power of Self-Acceptance

"I’m a person who is working on myself. I’m a work in progress. I keep working to improve myself."

My problem with these expressions is that it implies that we view personal growth as a process of dissecting, prodding, or poking ourselves to fit into a vision of how we’d like to be. It implies that there’s a self that we don't accept -- or feel ashamed of. It energizes an inner critic that is constantly watching over us -- blaming us when we’ve blown it and ordering us to improve. This vigilant and critical attitude undermines personal growth rather than supports it.

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