In the last year I have become a serious student of Zen through San Francisco Zen Center's Green Gulch Community. I find that the training I have been receiving through meditation, mindfulness practice, dharma talks, studying koans with Reb Anderson (Head Dharma Teacher) have had profound affects on my life. So profound, in fact, that I have returned to graduate school for a MS in Counseling and a license as an MFCC.
The impact of the practice, sitting zazen, paying attention to immediate sensations and thoughts and not getting involved in them, has been building personal strength in managing my life and given me a psychological lift, the likes of which I never expected when I started practice.
Your article is a perfect description of my personal experience. I have been looking for an opportunity to bring together others interested in this relationship between Zen and psychotherapy. In fact, I posted an inquiry on a graduate student list serv (Counsgrad) and have collected a few e mail addresses of others interested in this topic.
I am looking for a mentor in this field to guide my studies. My graduate program is a good one and highly traditional, with a strong medical model bent, due to the fact that we need to pass the MFCC Boards as clinicians. However, Zen philosophy and its applications undergird my personal approach to things and I would like to integrate my studies. I believe the training to see delusions and remain open in "beginner's mind" to be completely relevant to counseling.
In one of my first Zen retreats, approximately a year ago this weekend, I remember sitting in early morning meditation as Reb Anderson moved through the room correcting postures and quitely inserting thoughts into the environment. At one point he simply said, "By sitting in zazen, you are enlightened. You are Buddha." Not terribly profound, however, something within me shifted and my vision changed deeply.
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