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Buddhadharma : Summer 2012
SUMMER 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 35 PHOTOS(LEFT—RIGHT):UNKNOWN;TOMHAWKINS;UNKNOWN PHOTO TODD HIDO There are various patterns—sometimes anger in relation- ship, sometimes disappointment in relationship—and if we can see those patterns as a result of meditation work, then we know we’re actually integrating our practice. Having a teacher to help with this is very important. It’s like the difference between reading a book about doing ther- apy or reading a book about doing yoga and actually having someone say, “Well, this is what I see you doing. Why don’t you try moving a little bit in this direction.” Which is what happens in therapy, yoga class, and meditation practice. JOHN WELWOOD: Psychological patterns have been deeply etched into our psyche through repetition. We learn and repeat the same unwholesome relational patterns while growing up for fifteen to twenty years—and they become established in the neural circuitry of the brain. It’s extremely difficult to uproot and change these patterns because they largely func- tion unconsciously. They have become part of what’s called in psychology “the shadow”—they’re not seen. The best way to see them operating is in relationships. That is where our unconscious patterns show up most dramatically. Meditating or working together is good but that doesn’t necessarily provide the tools for looking at our psychological and relational patterns, unpacking them, and seeing exactly how they operate. I see personal, psychological, and relational work as a somewhat different process from spiritual develop- ment. Although they can work together nicely, they seem to be different lines of development. I saw a movie recently about a well-known Tibetan lama with many students. He came to the West and had a child with someone here, but he wasn’t able to be a father to that child. He didn’t seem to have the capacity to be a father, and often would not even respond to questions from his son. This was an example for me of how someone may have a certain level of spiritual awakeness or realization but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to translate into the relational area. GRACE SCHIRESON: Some of the seminary trainings that we’re