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Archive for August, 2010

Narcissism is an over-used word for “self-centered” in both the clinical world and the world at large. There are actually three other clinical ways to be self-centered: histrionically, borderline, and paranoid. And out in the general world, one can be self-centered in healthy ways: centered on one’s own perspective and emotions as first-line sources of information, and then attentive to others’ perspectives and feelings. Also, one can be other-centered yet adhere to such a rigid set of values that they are essentially self-centered after all, unable to truly take in another’s point of view. But returning to narcissism, the key is that narcissism as a normal personality core seems to simply mean being in absorbed in one’s own ideas. There’s a magical enchantment in such absorption, leading as it does to outside-the-box, daringly original thinking such as is highly valued in American culture. Narcissism only turns ugly through lack of understanding of how to foster the assets of the narcissist while helping him/her skirt the ‘dark side’ of their gifts. People tend to be overly admiring of narcissistic style at first, and later overly censuring when they have ‘spoiled’ their narcissistic friend/child/mate with overindulgence and then have a runaway freight train on their hands. www.surfyoursoul.com

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Five religions, windows on existence

In the Passover service, there is reference to “four children” who ask four different kinds of questions that every parent must deal with. These are played out as separate children in the service, but are more likely referencing states of questioning through which every child (and adult) alternates. These four children are 1) the wise child; 2) the rebellious child; 3) the simple child; 4) the child who does not know how to ask. Somehow these ideas of parent and four children made me think of the world’s great religions: Hinduism; Judaism; Buddhism; Christianity; Islam. The Hindu faith is the oldest, therefore the parent. In its acceptance of all beliefs, and in its enormous pantheon of deities representing many aspects of the world, it seems to embody humanity’s love of the world. After the Hindu faith, the first of the remaining Big Four seems to have been Judaism, the wise child. Wise, perhaps, because of its emphasis on oneness of the divine, and humanity’s responsibility to love that ineffable, incomprehensible oneness with all our hearts, souls and might. The Buddhist faith, perhaps the rebellious child despite its quiescence, rejects the world and instead embraces the world deep within the self: love of self. Christianity, the simple child, simply emphasizes God’s love for the world and God’s role as parent to humanity “for God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son”. And Islam, the child who does not know how to ask, does not concern itself with God versus the world or self, but rather humanity’s responsibility to humanity: brotherly love. Each of these faiths of course has all the aspects of each of the others in it. Love is indeed all there is, yet its direction of flow can vary. The emphasis seems important in that each of us must find the windows on love and God through which we see the most clearly.  www.surfyoursoul.com

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Honoring the Horse, Rather than Presuming

I am fond of saying that the last “-ism” yet to fall (after, say racism and agism) will be “species-ism”: the prejudiced assumption of lesser intelligence, value, and identity of our fellow creatures. “The Tao of Equus” discusses of kinder, wiser approaches to horses, but also cautionary tales of how even best intentions go awry with human presumption and ignorance. “Completely inexperienced  riders will spend several hundred dollars to attend a two-day workshop with a famous equestrian…. Yet when these people try to follow the methods demonstrated at the clinic, they haven’t developed the coordination, balance, understanding or equine conformation and body language, intuition, or level of sociosensual awareness needed to put these techniques effectively to use…. If I wanted to run a nonprofit horse-rescue mission, I could make an entire career out of taking horses off the hands of disillusioned owners too stubborn [or ignorant, or arrogant] to get help….”  [brackets mine]  www.surfyoursoul.com

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Five religions, windows on existence

In the Passover service, there is reference to “four children” who ask four different kinds of questions that every parent must deal with. These are played out as separate children in the service, but are more likely referencing states of questioning through which every child (and adult) alternates. These four children are 1) the wise child; 2) the rebellious child; 3) the simple child; 4) the child who does not know how to ask. Somehow these ideas of parent and four children made me think of the world’s great religions: Hinduism; Judaism; Buddhism; Christianity; Islam. The Hindu faith is the oldest, therefore the parent. In its acceptance of all beliefs, and in its enormous pantheon of deities representing many aspects of the world, it seems to embody humanity’s love of the world. After the Hindu faith, the first of the remaining Big Four seems to have been Judaism, the wise child. Wise, perhaps, because of its emphasis on oneness of the divine, and humanity’s responsibility to love that ineffable, incomprehensible oneness with all our hearts, souls and might. The Buddhist faith, perhaps the rebellious child despite its quiescence, rejects the world and instead embraces the world deep within the self: love of self. Christianity, the simple child, simply emphasizes God’s love for the world and God’s role as parent to humanity “for God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son”. And Islam, the child who does not know how to ask, Does not concern itself with God versus the world or self, but rather humanity’s responsibility to humanity: brotherly love. Each of these faiths of course has all the aspects of each of the others in it. Love is indeed all there is, yet its direction of flow can vary. The emphasis seems important in that each of us must find the windows on love and God through which we see the most clearly.

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