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TOPIC TITLE: From ALL my teachers????
Created On 3/10/13 8:49 AM
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TBear
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3/10/13 8:49 AM
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I am worried that some of the techniques that have been helpful to me actually come from the Buddhist tradition/ religion. I know the sages have said that we can learn from all people - based on the quote from Dovid HaMelech "...from all my teachers I have become wise..."

For example, the idea of compassion as dealt with in a guided practice - meditation - gave me the following "light bulb moment" - I substituted Hashem for the "greater power" talk etc....

The beginning of compassion and forgiveness for another comes from allowing myself to touch and experience, a little at a time, my own suffering and pain with tenderness... to sit with it and allow myself to be held by HaKodesh Baruch Hu and realize I am part of a greater picture that all people and experiences I encounter are part of - guided by Hashem's ultimate wisdom and kindness. Then it will follow naturally that I have the room to extend forgiveness and compassion to another.

This certainly fits with: Love your neighbor as yourself - you have to love yourself first.... also gives room for forgiveness when you realize that G-d says to love another as you love yourslef, in the case of someone who is incapable of loving themselves - does that mean they aren't held accountable for loving others and instead need to focus on loving oneself?

Guess my question is - should I be avoiding the training and input from Buddhist teachings - or keep gleaning what I can from it all the while being careful that it matches the tenets of Judaism?
 
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HopefulMommy
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3/10/13 8:33 PM
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Do you have a Rav to discuss this with? My understanding is that as long as it's not avoda zara you can learn from it, but I don't know that much about Buddhist teachings.


Edited: 3/10/13 at 8:35 PM by HopefulMommy
 
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TBear
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3/11/13 7:42 AM
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Thank you for your response.... yeah - I was thinking I should ask - he is so busy.....

Be Well~
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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3/18/13 4:01 PM
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TBear,
I love your questions!

I agree with Hopeful that having a Rav about these matters is crucial. When it comes to learning "alternative" techniques and therapies to help patients, I always consult with my Rav. For example, when I learned EMDR in 2001, it was not well known or respected in the frum world. Now, frum therapists are flocking to it.

My perspective regarding Buddhism is a little unusual. I am a BT and found yiddishkeit THROUGH Buddhism. I studied Buddhist philosophy and meditation in India and Thailand. My undergraduate major was comparative religion, not psychology. B"H, now my reference point is Torah. I understand the allure of other paths, but I think caution is warranted.
Feel free to continue this string or PM me if you like.
a lynn
 
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wishtobehappy
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3/18/13 8:39 PM
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That's really fascinating Dr. Lynn. May I ask how you found your way to Torah through Buddhism?

I've always had an interest in Buddhism and Eastern philosophy/religions. The mystical side of it, especially appealed to me. The Dalai Lama comes across as really humble, selfless, and spiritually aware, so there must be at least some truth to it. I was wondering if the religious stuff was left out of the picture, whether the spiritual side of it still contrasted with Torah values.
 
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wishtobehappy
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3/18/13 8:47 PM
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double post


Edited: 3/18/13 at 8:57 PM by wishtobehappy
 
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wishtobehappy
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3/18/13 8:53 PM
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triple post


Edited: 3/18/13 at 8:53 PM by wishtobehappy
 
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HopefulMommy
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3/18/13 10:55 PM
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Wow, that's so interesting! I'm also curious about what wishtobehappy asked.
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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3/20/13 5:58 PM
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First of all, I think the Dalai Lama is an elevated being. I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times. He is well known for telling Jews to look in their own back yard for spirituality. As I got more into Buddhist practice and philosophy, I took seriously the doctrine of karma; the Buddhist version of hashgacha. I had to reconcile for myself that if everything happens for a reason, then why was I born in America to Jewish parents?! My story is recorded on kiruv.com, the Aish movie "Inspired". My plan was to finish college and go back to Asia, but alas, I fell in love with a woman who was also a "JuBu", so the monkhood was out of the picture. Interestingly, she also became frum and to the best of my knowledge lives in Jerusalem. My undergraduate thesis compared hasidic Judaism and Zen Buddhism. Whenever there were similarities, I had a new appreciation of Judaism. The form of yiddishkeit I was exposed to (reform) felt empty and hypocritical, so I rejected the whole religion until my adulthood. When I went to graduate school at YU, I met normal orthodox people who took the time to explain things to me and expose me to shabbos and yom tov. Generally, I feel my background in Buddhism gives me a greater appreciation of Jewish prayer and halacha. I wish there was more of an active, meditative community in the frum world. Perhaps there is and I am not privy to it. But, I think that lots of Jews are leaving yiddishkeit because they don't "feel" the love and spirituality. I get it, and it makes me sad. I feel called to find meaning and depth in learning, halacha, shabbos, yom tov and community.
a lynn
 
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TBear
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3/20/13 8:21 PM
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Wow! Thanks for the insight - Dr. Lynn it is amazing the paths Hashem brings us from, and how He places us where we need to be! Thank you for sharing some of your background.

Having a Rav is a bit overstated, but he is there - usually - just not this week :-)

Anyway - the mindfulness and meditation is so helpful - yet I am trying to keep perspective by reading up on meditation ( Meditation and Kaballah by Aryeh Kaplan) and using Tehillim as a focus (Didn't Dovid HaMelech say he meditated on Torah?).

I did send my Rav a "thought clearing exercise" I had put together blending a meditation practice with some self talk - and he felt I was "going to be OK" from it - so perhaps that means he doesn't believe I am going astray...

Here is what I have used (and sent to my Rav) that has been helpful in calming the storms within:

Just for now – want nothing
Don’t wish to be someplace else or someone else
Be who and where you are
Don’t wish for more energy, or less
Watch your breath rise and fall and
watch your energy settle to where it needs to be
become aware of your body
Stop planning and remembering
there are lessons within the pain
but for now, just accept and breathe
let thought disperse
Like autumn leaves falling
Until all that is left is the calm, clear impression
of your branch-like mind, bare against the blue sky, shamayim
Yearn for nothing, no one
Pain or pleasure
Peace or war
Take a break from feeling incomplete
You are where Ha Kodesh Baruch Hu wants you to be
“Ki L’Olam Chasdo” His kindness endures forever
Let the calmness in your mind grow
Plant seeds of contentment and joy
You are a daughter of the King
Aveinu, Malkeinu
Don’t look for revenge or seek forgiveness
Just for now
Offer compassion to yourself
And thankfulness to our Creator; every breath is a gift
Just for now, want nothing
“ein od milvado” there is nothing but Hashem
Imagine within your mind, the Hebrew letters: yud then hay then vav then hay
“…I have set Hashem before me always…” (Tehillim 16: )
and through this practice you will not falter
Ease will come
Insight will come
Compassion will grow
Healing will come, please G-d
“…harofeh l’shvurei lev, u’michabesh l’atzvosam…” (Tehillim 147:3)
He Who heals the broken hearted, and will bind up their wounds….
Repeat to yourself, “I am grateful to my Creator
The Father of the Fatherless; Defender of the stranger
Who encompasses me with His love; I am not alone.
I don't have to understand: only to know, I am not alone."


Chag Kasher V'Sameach to all!!!!
 
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HopefulMommy
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3/20/13 8:35 PM
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That's beautiful, TBear!

Thank you for sharing, Dr. Lynn. That's an amazing story!
 
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wishtobehappy
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3/20/13 8:48 PM
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TBear, you're a really strong and special person. May Hashem give you the koach to endure it all, and I hope you get to a better place soon.

Dr. Lynn, thanks so much for elaborating. I never knew the movie even existed. I watched your recorded story and found it really interesting and inspiring. Not to mention that I now know that you're a real person and can even picture the face behind your name.

Your story reminds me of the book "Jews for Nothing." It is indeed a sad situation. What I find even sadder, are the Jews who grew up frum and are now leaving yiddishkeit. I, personally grew up in a very frum environment and was also very turned off for various reasons including spirituality. This whole topic therefore deeply resonates with me.


Edited: 3/20/13 at 8:51 PM by wishtobehappy
 
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wishtobehappy
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3/21/13 5:32 AM
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I'd love to see your undergraduate thesis.
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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3/21/13 10:42 AM
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Thank you for all the positive feedback. As Jews, we have an insatiable need for growth and meaning. In the book, Jew in the Lotus, which documents the meeting between the Dalai Lama and a group of rabbis, b/c the Dalai Lama wanted to know the "secret" to surviving in diaspora, he told the rabbis that so many Jews are leaving yiddishkeit because they don't feel the love and spirituality (my words). I will look into Jews for Nothing- thanks. I know what you mean that it is helpful to put a face to the name. The thesis was getting too long, and I wanted to graduate on time, so I cut the Zen stuff, and focused on the transmission of wisdom. My "beef" with religion has always been when the religion actually prohibits religious experience because of an over emphasis on the forms. When we confuse "means" with "ends", we lose the point. For example, halacha is supposed to bring us closer to Hashem, not make us feel insecure, inadequate, judged by our peers for our level of conformity. At least that is my opinion. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan has a huge influence on me, and I lament I never got to meet himor study with him.
TBear, I liked your Jewish meditation. Keep sharing!
a lynn
 
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MoMo
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4/4/13 1:32 AM
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Just read this thread.
Wow Dr. Lynn, I have a new-found respect for you!!!!
I always thought very highly of the Dalai Lama
 
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TBear
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4/5/13 4:44 PM
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Thanks for the encouragement - I did look at the film Dr. Lynn... pretty neat! Really appreciate your sharing that with us

I got a more indepth?? answer from my Rav about using this type of meditation - on the run... sort of what I call "hit and run" counseling - one comment at a time.
Well, he wasn't exactly excited about it - but said if it was helpful.... just so long as I don't lose focus on the fact that Hashem is the one to look towards ....

Felt a bit like - did you read it? Of course he did - he is busy and I am not his main focus... it isn't a no

So this limited support is exactly where Ha Kodesh Baruch Hu must want me.... He supplies our every need, so if I am alone - there is something I need to learn from it...

There is nowhere to look but our Tatty in heaven, and I keep trying to reach out and make connections (that is when I am not avoiding triggers by isolating), people need support, don't they? Keep researching to learn how to be the best mother I can be - but at the end of it all.....

it hurts - guess I need to be quiet and contemplate

reach that place where it doesn't matter
whether a person praises or curses me
whether I have support or am alone
- I am the same child of G-d

Good Shabbos
 
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tofutti1
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4/10/13 10:57 AM
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My therapist recommended mindfulness meditation for depression. I looked into this a little bit and found that this originally comes from Buddhism but is currently practiced in main stream western medicine. So I am not sure whether is would be halachically acceptable or not and I am not comfortable to speak to a Rav because I'm embarrassed. Any suggestions....
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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4/11/13 2:59 PM
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Tofutti,
Last I checked, breathing is not ussur.
Seriously, when I work with people, we usually simply focus on the sensation of breathing, either in the nostrils or the chest. As you notice the breath, let thoughts and feelings drift by. Don't get too attached to any idea. I call that "going down rabbit holes".

TBear,
Not always easy pill to swallow, but I agree with you that where we are is where we are supposed to be, to find out...how we will "play the hand" we are dealt. My money is on you to play your hand like a pro!
a lynn
 
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TBear
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4/12/13 7:49 AM
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Thank you Dr. Lynn. Good Shabbos
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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7/8/13 3:09 PM
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TBear,
Any developments?
a lynn
 
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