Victoria BC Therapy Blog

What is Enlightenment?

I spent this holiday season at Shasta Abbey in Northern California.  It’s a lovely monastery, nestled in the woods with a dynamite view of Mount Shasta in all her glory.  For me, it was a time for meditation, contemplation and reflection.

The intention of this Buddhist practice is spiritual awakening – bringing awareness and insight, or “light”, into our hearts. The practice supports me in so many ways and I’m always glad to have time to be still without distractions.

I used to think that “enlightenment” was some place I’d get to, sort of like, say, Chicago.  I’d just keep moving forward on my  journey and eventually I’d get there.  And, just like I know when I’ve arrived in Chicago, I figured I’d know when the plane landed at Enlightenment!

I can take some comfort in admitting this error because I know I’m not alone!  Many spiritual seekers believe they are going to arrive at this state we call “enlightened”.

Read more…

 

Christmas Stress

Judging by the clients in my therapy practice here in Victoria, Christmas can be a pretty stressful time.  Our culture puts heavy expectations on us for gift giving, family togetherness and the perfect Christmas dinner with everyone sitting happily like some Norman Rockwell painting.

There is an  “urban myth” that the Christmas season has the highest suicide rate of all the seasons.  However, studies have proven that across North America, suicide rates are actually lower at this time of year.  True, the holidays can bring up some very difficult emotions.  But, they also tend to evoke feelings of family bonds that can act as a buffer against suicidal thoughts. Read more…

 

When Meaning Makes No Sense

 

I was sitting in a small park a while back, writing in my journal when this guy comes up to me. (He’s in his 60’s, I’d say, bald and rotund, nicely dressed.  And he’s carrying a bag of garbage!)

Without even a by-your-leave, ma’am he says, “do you know the difference between sense and meaning?”

“Why don’t you tell me what you think,” I say.

“Lottsa’ things make sense,” he says “but they got no meaning.  Most things with meaning?  Well, they don’t make much sense.”  Then he put his bag of garbage in the park bin (a definite no-no in Canada) and went on his way. Read more…

 

The Guest House – Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

 

Finding Meaning in the Midst of Suffering

I’ve been suffering with the flu’ for the past few days so I’ve had to miss out on great weather here in Victoria and some fun stuff I wanted to do.  Sure, compared to what many people are going through, the flu’ is no big deal.  But sickness is never fun and, truth be told, I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself.

The Buddha had a lot to say about suffering … why it happens and what to do about it.  In the First Noble Truth, (there are four of ‘em), the Buddha taught the truth of suffering.  It is a common bond we all share… birth, death, aging and illness.  Most people don’t want to hear about suffering, they just want it to go away!

Many people cope with unsatisfactory events by splitting off from their feelings.  We try to disconnect or separate from the unpleasant.  In psychological terms we call it “dissociation”.  Read more…