A little exploration
What do you really want? What do you really love? What is the most important thing? These are three ways of asking the same question. It seems that most people are quite aware of what they don't want, but may have lost sight of what they do want/love. Living life to get somewhere else - to get something else. Essentially, not living their lives based on what they truly care about, but instead from a sense of lack and fear.
I hope you can hear this: as long as you live life from lack and fear, you will continue to experience lack and fear. How we approach life, directly impacts how life appears. Through Truth Orienting we can recognize what we want/love, and can resolve and release any sense of lack and fear. What is most important is not what anyone else says we should want or love, but to honor what we find within ourselves fully.
For instance, if right now all I can find that I want is a particular pair of shoes, I can start to orient by way of that wanting. I can notice that my mind keeps thinking about this new pair of shoes. And I can ask: what do I expect it will feel like if I get those new shoes? And I may then notice: I think I'll be happy, relieved, excited - it will feel good! Then I notice that getting the pair of shoes was just a way to get happiness/relief/excitement - and can now say: Ahh, what I really want is to be happy! I now know that happiness is closer to what I really want than shoes. The shoes were just a means to an end! And I can now bring interest to happiness - I can start to ponder the mystery of happiness. What is happiness - what causes it? And, I can even imagine what it would be like if I was always happy - what would my life be like? And I might notice that I would move through life more easily, be more engaged - fear and lack would be absent - and there would be a sense of freedom and interest. And then I see that ease, engagement, freedom, and interest are even closer to what I really want/love. I may even notice that the words don't really capture what I want/love, it's more of a feel or sense.
Now I can start to Orient from this deeper recognition instead of just the surface layer of wanting shoes. And when wanting shoes shows up, I now know much more about what is really underlying the whole thing. I'm associating getting shoes with being happy, interested, engaged, easeful, and free. That's what I want. Is it available here and now? Are shoes really the answer? We can find out.
So wether we want shoes, or a partner, or happiness, or enlightenment - we can Orient via our own intrinsic Truth and discover a deeper and more aligned (less conflicted) way to move in life. Perhaps all we really want is to live in the flow of our own Truth moment to moment - it may be that simple.
I serve as both a licensed clinical psychologist and a non-dual/contemplative teacher. Truth Orienting combines aspects of psychotherapeutic modalities and non-dual and contemplative traditions.
The psychotherapeutic aspect is more focused on working with aspects of experience such as: thoughts, emotions, beliefs, relationships, self-image, addiction, trauma, etc. Ultimately the intention is to resolve and dissolve any conditioning that results in the experience of separation, lack, fear, or incompleteness - otherwise known as suffering.
The non-dual teaching component is more focused on immediately and directly experiencing awakening, stabilizing as Awakeness, and the embodiment and expression of Awakeness.
As may seem obvious, these two are completely interrelated. For instance, seeing through aspects of suffering is a major component of awakening, and awakening directly impacts the experience of suffering. It is more a matter of what the focus is at any moment. Really, what is most important is to discover what each individual really wants, and to follow that Truth sincerely, all the way.
Truth Orienting literally means: Truth Orienting. Truth Orienting - because only Truth will set you free =) At first it may seem like there is a separate you that uses Truth to Orient, but as realization deepens, you will notice that you and the Truth are not two but inseparable.
In the case of clinical psychological work, there are more specific additional standards that apply including: evaluation, diagnosis, documentation, treatment planning, focus on symptom reduction, etc. I have been fortunate to be able to develop aspects of Truth Oriented Therapy along with Dr. Hedy Kober.
Some components of Truth Orienting:
Meditation is ultimately discovering what happens when we stop struggling and meet reality as it is - pure non-doing. Abiding as always already aware beingness - as the stillness underlying and inherent in all experience allows for a deeper intelligence to reveal itself. Both non-dual and insight-based approaches focus on resting and opening into stillness. By looking both without and within we can discern that our apparent separateness may actually be an illusion. Learning to recognize the inherent nature of ourself, we can discover a more authentic way to move through life, and our intrinsic inseparability with life. Meditation is resting as Truth.
Awakening to Truth can be aided when we utilize the mind in a very specific way. Using inquiry we are not simply creating a new narrative/identity, but instead discovering what is left when our narrative and individual identity is no longer the reference point through which we perceive reality. In a sense, inquiry allows for the dissolution of belief in conditioned mind patterns - this creates space for a fresh and intimate rediscovery of life/yourself from the ground up.
Exploring the human experience with curiosity is one of the primary catalysts that engenders greater clarity and freedom. The world appears to made up of changing phenomena - becoming intimate with the nature of these phenomena, and what it is that is perceiving these phenomena, brings about a deepening recognition of the way things are - the nature of reality. Looking directly at and reflecting on aspects of what it is to be human such as: birth, death, separateness, oneness, spirituality, space, and time, is a pathway towards authentic living and self-actualization.
Mindfulness-based techniques are rooted in insight-based contemplative traditions that have been essential to wellbeing and self-realization in the East for millennia. These practices have become increasingly recognized for their incredible transformative capacities here in the West. Western psychology has since incorporated these teachings into new therapies, bringing an vast depth and clarity into the therapeutic process. Indeed, research has since found these approaches to be highly efficacious for a wide range of issues. Focusing on domains such as mindfulness, acceptance, compassion, and insight; mindfulness-based approaches offer the possibility to dissolve stress and suffering, discover our inherent connectedness with life, and awaken to a deeper awareness and understanding.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) refers to an ever-expanding family of clinical interventions that share a commitment to evidence based methods. This family of treatment has scientifically demonstrated significant effectiveness in the treatment of a wide range of problems. The cognitive aspect of CBT looks closely at beliefs and the impact they have on one’s emotions and behaviors. Beliefs are the lens through which we narrate our own reality, and in CBT these beliefs are investigated with the hope of developing a more adaptive, rational, and flexible stance towards experience. The behavioral aspect of CBT works by directly contacting habitual responses of feared or difficult situations and implementing new behaviors so that one can learn, first hand, to transcend seeming boundaries and experience new ways of interacting with life.
What does it mean to truly contemplate a meaningful question? How do we access an intelligence, a wisdom, more profound than the conceptual views of humanity? To move beyond what we have been taught and into a clearer seeing of what is really so? To move from rigidity into fluidity - to discover true creativity? This type of exploration is the art of contemplation - one's capacity to reflect on the nature of things - until clarity reveals itself.