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Lions Roar : May 2006
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2006 15 Golly gosh gee, I’ll just wait till Prince Charming comes along and the words “I do” pop out of my mouth. Lynn Lloyd Santa Cruz, California CLARIFYING NAROPA’S “METHOD” John Baker does a fine job articulating the links and commonalities between Buddhism, modern psychoanalysis, and the work of Dr. Louis Ormont in his in- formative article about group therapy (“All Together in the Present,” January 2006). There is, however, one point that needs clarification. Mr. Baker mentions that the “Ormont method” is still taught in Naropa’s Contemplative Psychology program. This is not the case. Group process, in several forms, has been a part of Naropa’s Contemplative Psychotherapy program since it began in the mid-seventies. Formal instruc- tion in the theory and practice of group psychotherapy, however, began in 1991 and I have taught that course since its inception. Although my early training was with Dr. Ormont, and I remain in- debted to him, his “method” is by no means what I teach at Naropa. Besides influences from many Western psy- chodynamic group therapists, the hall- mark of the Contemplative Psychology program at Naropa is the continuing effort to integrate contemplative, Bud- dhist viewpoints of one’s relationship with mind and the interpersonal envi- ronment with the foundations of West- ern psychology and psychotherapeutic practice. So the “method” we teach is uniquely the Naropa Contemplative Psychotherapy program method, which remains in ongoing development. For those wanting to learn more about our approach, we are hosting a confer- ence in honor of our program’s thirtieth anniversary this May. You can also visit our website for more information. Robert Unger, Ph.D. Boulder, Colorado BEFORE DEPRESSION, REPRESSION In “Determined to Heal” (January 2006), Gehlek Rinpoche asserts that if we look carefully we can find the “true reason” for painful states like depression. “At first,” he says, “it may not be so clear to you, but after a little while the truth will be- gin to emerge. Depression is interlinked strongly with fear and the thoughts and feelings that fear produces.” My experience as a Zen student, dharma teacher, and psychotherapist is that self-critical and depressive states are often the result of repression. Repres- sion can take many forms, and resolving these painful states means dealing with the repressive mechanisms themselves, as well as the painful material that has I'm meditating on my inability to meditate due to the fact that when I meditate, I can’t stop thinking about how I can’t meditate because I’m thinking about my inability to meditate. Is that correct? been repressed. As these begin to rise up to consciousness, we often do experience fear or anxiety; but simply lowering that anxiety doesn’t deal with the underlying problem. Although they can be tremendously helpful, meditation practices—and even awakening experiences—do not usually by themselves untie these unconscious knots. I agree with Pema Chödrön and Dzigar Kongtrul when they cite the need for intense self-examination in practice. Such honesty includes a willingness to work toward experiencing the entire range of so-called negative emotions— and to make conscious that which drives them. Openness to whatever arises often leads us into threatening and unfamiliar places, but when worked with skillfully, these may hold the key to the most pro- found healing. Lawson Sachter Alexander, North Carolina ♦ The Shambhala Sun welcomes letters from its readers at