Tag Archives: Altruistic

The Art of Listening In HBO’s In Treatment…

12 May

Listening is truly a lost art.

In Treatment Dr Paul Weston's Hand Gestures

How often do you encounter people in life that you can tell are obviously not listening? It is the most common experience.

Sadly, it has become rare when someone actually listens to you and values what you have to say. 

In Treatment Talk To Me

In Treatment was a half an hour drama on HBO that starred Gabriel Byrne. The show was about the art of listening, psychotherapy, dysfunctions, neuroses, ethics, fears, self-sabotage, mental illness, relationships, conflict, trauma, pain, suffering, healing, resilience, etc.

Compassion and humanity are at the root of psychotherapy and In Treatment respectively. They speak about the deep need to be listened to without judgment. I have a great respect for psychology. It was one of my areas of study and I have intuitively known it is my vocation since childhood.

In treatment was even studied in universities at the time {I am not sure if it still is}. Counselling psychology students discussed in treatment in classes. Its pedagogical purpose was to teach students how to live their potential as psychologist and to help their clients heal.

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In Treatment is like a prism that reflects the spectrum of humanity.

It can be Shakespearean in its dramatic storylines, intimate revelations and profound intellectual discussions.

{Side note: this is Paul’s wave machine in the introduction}.

It is a cerebral show that dives deep into the Alice in wonderland rabbit hole of the psyche. In treatment relies heavily on the art of acting. Gabriel and the rest of the cast really shine in this thirty-minute drama. The skilled actors play off the script, each other, emotions and body language. They have no special effects to rely on- just their acting skills. {Side note: Gabriel won a golden globe for his performance. Many other actors and the show itself were nominated for numerous awards}.

Gabriel’s character is the compassionate Dr.Paul Weston.

He is the wounded healer, secret keeper, listener, teacher and psychologist.

In Treatment He's Listening

Psychotherapy is based on trust and vulnerability- spiritual and emotional nakedness. There is a strong emotional connection between Paul and all of his patients. First, he has to earn their trust and convince them to trust him and open up.

He must analyze their issues beneath the masks they wear.

He has to discern the truth from lies, distortions and projections.

All of his patients have complex problems and dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.

Some are based on the complexities of being in a relationship and sharing a life with someone despite conflicting personalities or desires. With Jake and Amy, Paul is a mediator between them. He uses conflict resolution, helps them clarify their real issues/emotions and helps them decide on their course of action.

Others are more individual problems with roots in childhood.

Regardless of how the trauma manifests itself, what is evident is that Paul is responsible for his patients.

In some cases, he is the only person that his patients have to rely on. 

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In treatment examines many themes. One is the issue of transference.

Transference can happen in the therapeutic process. The psychologist has to maintain their boundaries and respect their professional code of ethics.

How do you treat a patient that thinks they are in love with you?

What if they insist on their declarations of love?

What if they play mind games and employ manipulation?

How do navigate that?

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Intergenerational trauma is another topic that is examined in the show.

Alex is not even aware of the impact of how his father murdered his grandfather traumatized him. He is also not conscious of how his childhood and his father’s toxic masculinity traumatized him.

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How do you deal with the emotional impact of listening to people’s problems all day?

Many psychologists go to their own psychologist for therapy and to consult about their patients. Paul goes to Gina for this purpose. Their relationship is quite strained but he desperately needs that outlet.

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Some quotes from this video stood out to me in particular…

“It is hard to see so many people in pain and not be able to do anything to help them in some way.” -Paul

“Maybe helping is easier than feeling the pain.” -Laura

I can attest to this feeling of helplessness. It is very painful for me to see or know that someone is in pain without being able to do anything to ease their suffering.

Laura’s observation has some merit. Sometimes it is easier to help than feel. Sometimes it just hurts too much.

“We are not Gods, we can’t save anybody.” -Gina

Gina’s statement is true.

We cannot save anybody.

We can only help them to save themselves.

“It is possible to live in a world where people panic, where people let each other down, where they disappoint each other but still help each other out.” -Paul

I think this is the most realistic observation.

It is still possible to help each other despite our flaws and limitations.

Paul asks Alex where he wants his therapy to lead him. He answers painfully, “some place where I feel less shitty about myself.”

There is something in Blair Underwood’s voice when he says “some place where I feel less shitty about myself.” We can all relate to this sentiment.

“I thought that is what we are on the earth for- to help each other- to step up to the plate when somebody needs us.” -Paul

I have to agree with Paul.

I think it is noble to derive your life’s purpose from altruism and compassion.

Finding meaning in helping others is something I can deeply relate to.

“There are other places where you can feel safe and here in this room is one of those places.” -Paul

The therapist’s office is like a sanctuary from the chaos of the world.

Paul really wants to help his patients find their own answers to enlighten themselves, empower themselves and solve their problems.

With Sophie, Paul wanted her to have her own epiphanies.

In this scene, Sophie has empowered herself enough to confront her father on his abandonment and absence as a father.

Paul’s role is not to be the judge but to guide them to reconnect and re-establish their relationship. The journey is painful but worthwhile.

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Paul’s observations/analysis is incisive.

He really gets to the root of his patient’s suffering.

{It reminds me of Robin Williams’ character the psychologist Sean McGuire in Goodwill Hunting}.

His patients always challenge him and often test his boundaries.

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It should be noted that Paul has his own problems to contend with.

I think it is vital to observe that psychologists are human and imperfect. They have to deal with their own life and its challenges while trying to help others heal and figure out their life’s labyrinth.

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Happy birthday to Gabriel Byrne today!!!

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Further Research

Gabriel Byrnehttps://www.byrneholics.com/

Gabriel Byrne’s Internet Movie Database Page

In TreatmentIn Treatment’s Internet Movie Database Page

In Treatment’s HBO Page

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Have you watched In Treatment?

What did you think?

You can watch it on HBO’s website {for a price}.

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Rest in peace to Irrfan Khan who recently died {April 29th, 2020}.

He brilliantly played Sunil in the third season.

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Peace & Compassion,

-V.

Stream of Consciousness Reflections…The Spiritual Lessons of The Pandemic…

16 Apr

Aloha dear friends/readers.

How is life treating you? I pray well.

I started this blog many years ago to reflect on life,  ideas, theories, philosophies, truths, emotions, people, the world, the inner workings of my mind, etc.

Perhaps it was also an attempt to access the locked room in my mind- my subconscious.

I have always lived a life of quiet reflection to connect more deeply with my spirituality and my self. Now I think it is the quintessential time for all of us to reflect on the life we were living and how we are living now. This pandemic and quarantine have taught us all so much. {I am aware that our lessons are tailored to each of us}.

What is still important? What remnants of the past carry over to the present? Are your ethics and priorities the same? Do you have more clarity now? Will the changes in ourselves, in others and our lives be sustainable? We will go back to how we were when this over? Hopefully, we are fluid like the ebbs and flows of the ocean. 

I am reflecting on what I am supposed to learn and the hidden lessons in the chaos.

Compassion is still the highest form of love because it is spiritual love.

Altruism exists– even though the critics/haters disagree. {Unfortunately, selfishness also exists}.

We are all interconnected. We all affect each other and in some cases, we all need each other. {Perhaps now we can see the invisible threads that unite us. The ego always works to disconnect us from each other through the illusion of seperation}. In essence, we are all waves in the same ocean of humanity.

Courage can be born out of necessity.

Health is wealth.

Reflection/inner introspection is a vital and meditative activity for your soul and mind.

Fear can seduce us into paralysis if we let it.

Creative problem-solving is vital in life.

We all need to take care of our mental health {as well as our physical health}- especially now. Depression and anxiety can slowly invite its way into our lives if we are not mindful.

People mean more to us than we realized- especially loved ones or family.

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Please enjoy Ocean by Azam Ali featuring Loga Ramin Torkia

{This song and Azam Ali’s singing gives me such peace}…

So does seeing the beautiful cinematography that showcases the exquisite beauty of Mexico.

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What are your lessons from the pandemic and quarantine?

I would love to hear them.

I hope to share more lessons in the future…

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Further Research…

Azam Alihttps://azamalimusic.com/

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Peace & Compassionate Love,

-V.

 

Reflection for today…The Ocean of Consciousness -Rumi…

18 Oct

Rumi You Are The Ocean In An Entire Drop

I remember reading some Buddhist teachings many moons ago that spoke about the ocean of consciousness.

It spoke about each of us being a wave in the ocean.

We think that we are completely independent; that we are a single wave because of the illusion of our ego.

Our ego clouds and distorts our perception creating a false sense of self.

It is complicated as in Western society there is so much focus on the self: self-improvement, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-doubt, etc.

The truth is that while it may seem that we are individual waves,

we are actually part of the ocean; the ocean of humanity.

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I really cannot understand how some people can have no compassion for each other.

At the root of this poverty of the spirit is a lack of compassion for the self, selfishness and an overindulgence of the ego.

{One cannot offer compassion if you have no compassion for yourself}.

As I said to my friend, if we don’t help each other then we will all sink.

I know that we all have our individual problems but if we just focus on them, then we cannot get out of our heads and the prison of selfishness.

There is a delicate balance between having compassion and helping others with helping yourself and protecting yourself from harm. Boundaries are necessary.

I always struggle with how to have compassion while not losing myself.

The sad truth is that many people mistake kindness for weakness.

The truth is that it takes great strength to be compassionate in this world.

It takes great spiritual strength to open your heart and mind to offer your compassion. 

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 When the triple disasters were taking place in Japan in 2011, I was horrified. I was watching the news on the internet. I constantly watched BBC, CBC and Al Jazeera with tears in my eyes.

I could not help crying as I watched the news.

It hurt my heart and soul to witness such suffering.

I could not believe that on top of the tsunami and the earthquake there was a nuclear situation as well. As I thought of Fukushima, I was reminded of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. I was very concerned and afraid for Japan. I still am.

While I had no family, friends or loved ones in Japan, I felt deep compassion for the Japanese.

It didn’t matter in the least if I didn’t know a single soul in Japan.

We are all interconnected and if Japan was suffering and grieving then we all were.

I still think of Japan and how the triple disasters affected and affect people today- especially the effects of nuclear contamination/radiation.

The reason that I share this is because I had an epiphany then.

My good friend and I were having coffee one day {during the disasters in 2011}.

I was telling him about what was happening in Japan.

He stopped me in the middle of my sentence and said very coldly, “you know what…I just don’t care.”

That is when I realized that something inside of him died.

To be honest, I was very disturbed by his comment and his attitude.

Upon deep reflection, I felt sadness and compassion for him.

He had just gone through a very painful and dark time with the illness of his mother. I know that this experience had a very damaging effect on him.

I think he was most likely spiritually disconnected and emotionally numb at that point.

He probably had nothing left to give as he was in desperate need of healing.

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Compassion is the greatest gift you can offer someone.

Compassion is what makes us truly human.

Our humanity is rooted in compassion.

*Remember that we are all in this life together.

We all depend on each other.

We are all interdependent as waves in the ocean of humanity.

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Please enjoy Ocean by Azam Ali and Loga Ramin Torkian as I felt it complimented this post.

It is from Azam Ali’s album: “Lamentation of Swans: A Journey Towards Silence.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3558lJuA8Y8

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To learn more about Azam Ali, Loga Ramin Torkian and Niyaz…

http://www.niyazmusic.com/

Here is a brief description that I copied and pasted from their biography.

From this link: http://www.niyazmusic.com/#!/biography/

Niyaz, which means ‘yearning’ in Persian and Urdu, was formed in 2005 by Azam Ali, multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian and two-time Grammy nominated producer and electronic musician Carmen Rizzo.

The band borrows from an historic lineage of Middle Eastern poets setting verse to music, perhaps most famously known today through the work of the 13th century Persian poet Rumi and the endless barrage of quotes attributed to him on Twitter and Facebook.

While the immediate goal of Niyaz was to explore the music and identity of Iranians living in exile and struggling to maintain their cultural identity in the modern world on their first two acclaimed records, Niyaz and Nine Heavens, the band has expanded that theme with Sumud.”

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Azam Ali is the singer with the heavenly voice in Niyaz.

Azam AliHer voice is truly “otherworldly” and hauntingly beautiful.

Azim Ali Otherworldly

She has also been a part of another band named VAS. Their albums include: Sunyata (1997), Offerings (1998), In the Garden of Souls (2000) and Feast of Silence (2004).

Azam has released seven albums between Niyaz and VAS.

Niyaz’s albums include: Niyaz (2005), Nine Heavens (2008) and Sumud (2012).

She has also released four solo albums: Portals of Grace (2002), Elysium for the Brave (2006), From Night to the Edge of Day (2011) and Lamentation of Swans- A Journey Towards Silence (2013).

Azam has also been involved in movie soundtracks (the movie 300) and video game soundtracks.

For more information, please visit her official website…

http://www.azamalimusic.com/main.php

*Much Love to Japan and the rest of the world.

My prayers are with Japan as they are facing another natural disaster in the form of a typhoon.

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Peace & Namaste Friends…

Reflection for today…What is Important In Life -Henry James

25 Jun

“Three things in human life are important:

the first is to be kind;

the second is to be kind;

and the third is to be kind.”
Henry James

Compassion Is At The Heart of Buddhism…

…”It’s the kind words you gave to that homeless man without judging that man
it’s the fact that you gave;
and showed compassion ’cause he humbly asked you for change…”

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Please enjoy Helpful by Dead Prez

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy7cZP3dSVc

“[Pulse of the people]
[If it feel good to ya]
[It’s okay to smile]
can’t get but so far in this life being selfish.
a free spirit
a giving heart
that’s what wealth is
we rich when we recognize the power that’s within
it’s not all about the money
it’s the time that we spend
it’s the hand that we lend
to a friend when we can
it’s the kind words you gave to that homeless man
without judging that man
it’s the fact that you gave;
and showed compassion ’cause he humbly asked you for change
i know the blessings I receive is not just for me
a shared blessing comes back to you
that’s what I believe
to help someone in need
to throw down some rope
to be a ray of hope
ya know?
sometimes you gotta help somebody
sometimes you gotta help somebody
sometimes you just gotta be helpful
when life gets stressful
sometimes you gotta help somebody
sometimes you gotta help somebody
what goes around is gonna come back ’round
what goes around is gonna come back ’round
when you help somebody
donate my extra clothes
to a clothing drive.
help the lady cross the street
bring her bags inside.
send a letter to a prisoner to lift his spirit.
be a mentor to a child ’cause it takes a village.
lend a hand, help a brother
that I learned the hard way
all for one
one for all
it got to be the squad way
the early bird get the worm
it’s corny but it’s true
first impressions last forever
careful how you move
first you crawl
then you walk
the 1 before the 2
nothing new under the sun
the golden rule
lazy people work the hardest
that’s my motivation
everything in moderation
even moderation
yo
yo, when you put out your hand,
is it to give or to receive?
see what goes around will come back around
I do believe
that the positive and negative is relative to where you live
not from experience
that’s what we tell the kids
’cause they are the seeds
the stronger the root
the stronger the tree
if we eat from the fruit
the stronger we be
if we do it today
tomorrow we free.”

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Thank you Stic & M-1 {Dead Prez} for this inspirational song.

I love Dead Prez.

Their music is full of pure wisdom.

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For more information on…

Henry James…

http://www.online-literature.com/henry_james/

Dead Prez…

http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/

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How can you be helpful?

You never know how much your words and actions can help someone in need.

We are all interconnected as sentient beings.

Why not have compassion for each other?

One love.

“A Friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed…”

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…Humility Is Compassionate -C.S. Lewis

11 Dec
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself,
but thinking of yourself less.”

Photo Courtesy of: http://www.soulcoin.com/HumilityandJoy.html
The elements of this coin focus your attention on humble thoughts.
In the center on the front is a door.
This door is from the Maisel Synagogue in Prague.
In regards to an arrogant person the Creator says: “I and he cannot dwell together.” The door to the Creator’s house
allows for the humble of spirit to enter. The door itself, represented by the Hebrew letter Dalet, is the property of humility and lowliness.
The letter Dalet is the large letter in the middle of the reverse side of the coin On the front, the phrase “I am but dust and ashes” , from Genesis 18:27, is written in English and Hebrew.
Hebrew – V’anokhi `afar va’efer
The plant below this phrase on either side is the hyssop – the lowly hyssop represents modesty and humility. It never becomes proud because of its numerous useful qualities, but remains humble in appearance and modest in its demands.

On the reverse (“tails”) side, the phrase “Know from whence you came”, is written in English and Hebrew.
This reminds you that once upon a time you were just a small bit of matter, and have no reason to be puffed up with pride.
Hebrew – da may’ayin ba’ta
In the center is the Hebrew letter Dalet, characterizing lowliness, the consciousness of possessing nothing of your own.
“434” is the numerical value of the Hebrew word “Dalet”. There are many meanings associated with this number and Dalet for you to explore if you so chose.

DWENNIMMEN (djwin-knee-mann): “Ram’s horns.”
“West African symbol of strength (in mind, body and soul), humility, wisdom and learning.
The ram will fight fiercely against an adversary, but it also submits humbly to slaughter, emphasizing that even the strong need to be humble. “

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What a brilliant quote!

Humility as a cure for  ego and selfishness- as prescribed by C.S. Lewis.

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Peace & Namaste…