Author: Richard

Type A, B, and C Personalities

Type A Medical commentary from the late 1960s through the 1990s speculated about two types of personalities associated with disease. Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and RH Rosenman coined the phrase “Type A Personality” several years after they noticed that their waiting-room chairs needed re-upholstering sooner than those in other medical offices. Cardiac patients, more than most, were sitting on the edge of their seats and fidgeting and fussing with their arms and hands. In 1976 Rosenman and Friedman began research that confirmed their original suspicions. They found that there was a common set of traits associated with cardiac patients and identified the primary one as a propensity to be easily stimulated to anger. They also noted a high degree of competition and hostility. Type A people are hard working goal setters, but tend to lack a sense of joy in their accomplishments. Type B People with Type B personality were said to be more tolerant and relaxed than Type A individuals. They are thought to be more reflective, less hostile and aggressive, and not overly prone …

Back Pain and TMS

TMS, or Tension Myoneural Syndrome, is a theory that explains the kind of pain that persists for long periods despite the absence of clear physical damage or injury. It is most often associated with back, neck, and intestinal pain, but has been applied to a wide variety of conditions including itching, tinnitus, and fibromyalgia. Even when physical abnormalities such as a bulging disk seems to present a likely cause, the strategies taught by Dr. John Sarno and others are effective at reducing and often eliminating the pain. One of the best explanations of TMS is in this video by Dr. Howard Schubiner: Dr. Schubiner and Dr. Sarno focus on education as a means to help people see the “true” cause of their pain, and then take steps to eliminate it. After first reading Crooked and Everyone has Back Pain, I read Dr. Sarno’s book, The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain. Towards the end of the book Dr. Sarno lays out the formula for exposing and confounding the brain’s covert plan of distraction-by-pain, by exploring the emotional issues underlying …

Ice on Water

Non Dual Thinking

When I wrote about why sabi was important, I touched on it’s role in fostering non-dual thinking. Non-dual thinking is a bit of a buzz word in certain Integral and “Progressive Christian” circles. Two of my favorite writers, Richard Rohr and Cynthia Bourgeault, have been speaking about it for many years, and I’ve heard some interviews in which advocates for non-duality claim to see a perspective even beyond non-duality. But for now, I think it is fair to say that most of us need to first experience the shift to non-dual thinking. But why? Non-dual thinking grows almost unconsciously over many years of conflict, confusion, healing, broadening, loving, and forgiving reality. – The Center for Action and Contemplation. Dualing Thoughts Most thinking involves a process we call categorization. The word category comes from the Greek word, kategoria which literally means accusation. In it’s verb form kategorein means “to speak against; to accuse, assert, predicate.” Going even deeper we discover that the root kata means “down to”  or “against.” Aristotle used the word to refer to …

Sabi is the Bedrock of Zen

John G. Rudy in his book, “Wordsworth and the Zen Mind” says sabi is the bedrock of Zen enlightenment. Here is the full quote: Chief among the moods of Zen – and the one that, for all practical purpose, forms the bedrock of Zen enlightenment – is sabi, the spirit of non-attachment or freedom. – John G. Rudy This matter-of-fact assertion by a scholar deeply immersed in the poetic work of the English Romantics seems at first to be slightly provocative. Provocative for me because I’m not sure if I would say that sabi is the spirit of non-attachment. Sabi is Paradoxical As I explored here, I see sabi as a paradoxical state or mood; a combination of loneliness and satisfaction, or perhaps even sadness and contentment. These elements are popularly considered both negative and positive respectively – thus the paradox. How is this possible to be contented and lonely at the same time? I think if we can answer that question we will glimpse the mechanism at the heart of sabi’s essential “spirit.” Sabi is Internal Before …

Frosty River

Secondary Benefits

I said on the “Why is Sabi Important” page that there are secondary benefits to embracing sabi and moving into a way of looking at the world through a sabi lens. Here I will, in the coming months, unpack this in more detail. Accepting All That Is? Well, maybe not all that is, but I have found that much if not most of our suffering comes from wishing things were different than they are.

Trees in the Mist

A Long Missed Shift

There have been NO MUSHROOMS in Nanaimo so far this fall. With failing hope on my walk today I wandered from time to time off the trail, poking mournfully at the ground with my walking stick. Eventually I gave up and decided to just enjoy the walk. As I came around one curve in the path I stopped and looked at this scene: Something in the way the branches filled up the space with horizontal lines, the autumn light, late in the day, and the deep reassuring stillness caused a sort of mental pop in my head. I felt it like a knot un-knotting. Pop, un-knot. I was suddenly full of a warm shy contentment angling up towards joy at the edges. I smiled. It has been a very long time since such a feeling has come to me. I carried on down the trail, swinging my stick and breathing in the green smelling air, lungs not big enough to take in as much as I would like, shoulders not broad enough to throw back …

Thisness

Haecceity (from the Latin haecceitas – pronounced heck-see-ity) is usually translated as “thisness.” Duns Scotus is believed to be the first person to use the word to denote the wholly unique components that make a person or object unlike any other person or object. In a certain sense it is the emergent quality of a thing that we recognize as being one of a kind and therefore worth great value. A sensitivity to “thisness” is one of the central muscles of a poetic mind. With it we move out of categorizing all stones as “stones,” which is a time saving device, into contemplation of this particular stone, which is a time occupying device. We pick up the stone, we turn it over, we appreciate it for it’s thisness. This of course is not a muscle exclusive to the poetic mind. The scientific mind also requires this working, this using of effort. In thisness the scientist and the poet stand together — in curiosity, in wonder sometimes, at the profoundness of this one unique thing, this …