The Positive Psychology of Buddhism and Yoga: Paths to a Mature Happiness

By Marvin Levine | Go to book overview
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27
Mindfulness and Right Thoughts

The most traditional method of psychotherapy entails having the client speak. Early psychoanalysis had the person say whatever came to mind (free association). More generally, however, the client speaks of feelings and memories that seem related to his or her suffering. This method has revealed a valuable addition to B&Y teachings about cravings. Clients often fail to recognize within themselves subtle irritations, angers, fears, or sexual impulses. These unacknowledged agitations and cravings are frequently the source of the clients' symptoms such as anguish or compulsions. An important goal of this "talking cure" is for the client to perceive these subtle emotional states and to understand how they relate to his or her unhappiness.

It is almost as though this process is a preliminary to B&Y practice. The client, on this conception, is not fully prepared to "conquer the beasts within" (see p.37) because not all of them are seen or felt. By helping clients to become aware of latent, unrealized agitations and needs, the therapist prepares them to better take on the B&Y task of self-transformation.

This insight arose from conversation I had with a psychoanalyst. We were discussing anger and I was describing the Buddhist conception, that anger is a source of suffering, that we are infi

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