About

This website contains a collection of articles and handouts and various materials that have evolved over the last 19 years in one-to-one sessions / groups in anxiety management, anger management and self-esteem work. They represent ways of looking at issues that seemed to be helpful within that context, but they do not represent a approach that was imposed upon the situation. These short pieces are ‘designed’ (which it isn’t really the right word since they arose organically out of the situation rather than being planned) to help anyone who is trying to work with distressed states of mind in a ‘non-fixing’ kind of a way – working with the processes occuring rather than fighting against them. We’re fighting against what we see to be the problem, but actually it is the fighting itself that is the problem! Or as Eckhart Tolle says,

Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.

In our culture everything is about theories and approaches and ‘fixing’ and the very idea of working with whatever is happening as a way of allowing the natural healing process to work rather than taking charge of matters ourselves (or learning some kind of a method or strategy from a book or from an expert in order to ‘manage’ the problem) tends to sound very strange. We love our experts and we can’t wait to put our trust in them. We love the word ‘management’ and attach it to anything. If only we could manage everything in our lives we’d be happy! The only thing about this is that – in the long term – management just doesn’t work. Sometimes – quite often in fact – it doesn’t even work in the short term! It rebounds on us more or less instantly. When we try to ‘manage’ spontaneous procesess we banjax them, in other words. Management means tying ourselves up in knots; it means going around and around in sterile circles. Spontaneous process are by their very nature ‘beyond our understanding’ (no matter how clever we might think we are) and because they are beyond our understanding they are beyond our ability to manage them! Huai Nan Tzu says –

When one seeks to regulate something,
he is in fact going contrary to it.

Where he seeks to embellish something,
he is in fact harming it..

Nonaction does not mean being completely inert,
but rather that nothing is initiated from the ego-self.

Trying to work with our suffering by using cleverness and theories and approaches and strategies (which always come from the ‘ego-self”) is ALWAYS counterproductive – ultimately, it always backfires on us to cause us more suffering than ever before. ‘Cleverness’ – in this case – boils down to the avoidance of what we fear, the avoidance of what we don’t want to know about, and avoidance is of course  the root of our suffering not its cure! We are trying to take charge of the spontaneous self because we don’t trust the natural processes that operate in the psyche – we only trust those processes which the rational mind itself has designed and it itself is in control of.

Instead of cleverness and technology, what helps us to recover our inner peace is to uncover our hidden resources of inner strength, compassion and wisdom. In this way, the pain that we are going through turns into a blessing, since it becomes the cause for us to go beyond the superficial and tediously reactive ‘everyday self’ and discover within us the serenely imperturbable (and gently humorous) nature of the true self.

‘Trusting the process’ of whatever is going on (painful though it may be) reconnects us with the freedom that we had within us all along. It reconnects us with Intrinsic Space. Intrinsic Space is the space between our thoughts – it is what is there before we put anything there. It is what is there before we make anything be there, what is there before we say (or imagine) what is there. According to Ngakpa Chogyam in Rainbow of Liberated Energy:

Learning to trust Intrinsic Space, the space between ‘known’ areas of experience, is the basis of growth – without it we stagnate.

Intrinsic Space is the gap between one solid structure and the next. Who we think we are, therefore, is whatever solid structure we happen to be identifying with at the time. We think we’re the solid structure. Who we really are, on the other hand, is Intrinsic Space…

I have two other websites containing related articles, which are:

thenegativepsychologist.com and radicaluncertainty.com

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One comment

  1. John Forde · November 20, 2014

    I’m loving the articles Nick, great work.
    On the fear of fear, Toyota famously invented the Kaizen production philosophy which means ‘continual improvement’… one of their management mantras is “No problem is problem”. This reminds of your last essay on anxiety, in denying problems. Embrace problems as they point for those with eyes open towards opportunities for continual improvement

    Liked by 1 person

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