book coverTurning to the Source

An Eastern View of Western Mind: Using Insight Meditation and Psychotherapy for Personal Growth, Health and Wholeness


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ISBN: 0-931892-20-1, 256 pages, 6.25 x 9.25, cloth, $19.95

Dhiravamsa presents a thorough discussion of traditional Buddhist "psychology" and explores its relationship to Western forms of mental health therapies. He challenges individuals and professionals to radically and transculturally bring together all approaches to health and wholeness. By combining Eastern and Western traditions, we discover the total freedom to see, feel, think, and act as the fully loving beings we already are. This is an excellent introduction for anyone wanting to understand Eastern views of mind.

Table of Contents

1. Oneness and Separation
2. Illusion Versus Reality
3. Toward Wellness
4. Love and Unity
5. Perception and Ideation
6. Sleeping Dogs
7. Consciousness and the Core of Being
8. Oriental Meditation and Western Psychotherapies
Appendix: Psychotherapy and the Teaching of Meditation as Relationships: Different or the Same?


Thinking about the title of the book, Turning to the Source, I would like to share with you, the reader, some meanings that are relevant to me. First, it means "returning to the Origin"; that is, the Oneness of Being, the indivisible and non-dualistic wholeness in which all are one and one is all. This is the transpersonal realm of consciousness where all the illusions, including the illusive notion of self as a separate being, cannot reach. In this connection, I would like to make it clear that Oneness or Wholeness is not an idea or a belief, but a level of Consciousness that is a living reality. It is an actual experience. In experiencing this Oneness/Wholeness consciousness, there is no problem to be conceived of, for everything is just what it is - there is nobody there to make a problem out of anything. But at the level of so-called self-consciousness where duality and dichotomy exist, we always find someone there trying to create a problem in life, out of ignorance, attachment, and deeply rooted patterns of conditioning, including fears.

The psychological needs for self-defense and self-protection arise in this level of consciousness of having a separate self. As our logic goes, when "self" is created, "other" or "not-self" - as an opposite - comes into being and existing. It then becomes inevitable that there must be a boundary between them. Hence, conflict arises as a result of dualism. Take another example: divine love and human love. These two forms of love as opposite polarities divide us - humans - into the religious and the secular, the spiritual and the materialistic. Most of us are unable to integrate these concepts. Instead, we cling to the idea or the word so tightly that we become deeply divided and, therefore, perpetuate the conflict between human love and divine love. One is better or purer than the other. Here the gap gets wider, and it's all in our computer mind. Beyond this, love is just love, or love is; the concept of "divine" or "human" doesn't make any difference to love. For love does not discriminate; it only unites and unifies everything. There is no higher or lower, better or worse for the truth of love. If we transcend the concept and experience love within our hearts as well as in the energy field of love in the entire universe, there is no idea about divine or human love, but just love as pure energy of oneness, connectedness, and wholeness. For this reason, returning to the source or origin helps us solve all the problems simply because there is no problem to be found in the first place. It is just our own creation. When we quit creating it, it simply disappears.

Secondly, Turning to the Source implies and indicates that there is a source within us as well as outside of us where we get knowledge, information, help, and the answer, and from where energy springs. This kind of source may be called "resource" as we recognize the fact that our human nature is resourceful. We always find the way out of our stuckness, or out of anything that challenges us at the time. We just have to turn to the source and listen to it with an open mind and heart, and also have trust in the source, allowing it to work through and for us without interference on our part. For example, in terms of bodywork, when a spontaneous movement occurs, and a sudden sound, or a certain sensation is felt, either in the physical body or in the psyche, just be open to it with simple, clear awareness and let it come into full experience. In this way, the inner source can work more effectively so that the block will be removed and transformation will take place. Therefore, we move on, as we are the source of our own journey through our psychophysical systems and beyond. In our everyday living, we do things and perform our functions or duties by using our own source and are not under the influence or authority of anybody else. This means that all our actions are carried out with authenticity and autonomy. There is no dictating voice behind our actions. Our own source moves us and provides us with energy and everything required for the work at hand. For that matter, we say with confidence that we are guided and taken care of by whatever name we want to call it, for the unnameable has many names, as Alan Watts put it. The Dharma, God, Tao, and the One Being are among those unnameable names that we are familiar with in our cultures. When we live and act out of our own source, we are in harmony with the universe so that things go well and our lives flow beautifully like the dance of the Tao (the Way, the Upstream, the Supreme Consciousness, etc.). The phrase, "our own source," used here does not refer to a personal possession. In actual fact, it is universal. Every individual has access to this source because it is also located within each of us. At the same time it is out there in the universe available for all of us at any moment. Just keep your eyes open for seeing, your ears for hearing, your mind for understanding, and your heart for receiving and emanating. The source is infinite, boundless, and endless.

Thirdly, Turning to the Source is an instruction for solving problems or for overcoming conflicts as they occur in the process of our living and interacting with other people. We must go to the root causes, the original conditions, the source of conflicts, problems and challenging situations that are facing us: our relationships, our family, our community or group, our society, and our world in which we live. When the cause is dealt with wisely and intelligently, the solution is found. On the contrary, by attempting to keep the surface in control while suppressing the causes and by merely removing the symptoms without touching the root, nothing is solved, nothing is healed and nothing is cured. Worse still, sooner or later, the covered-up things will burst out and erupt with greater destruction like a dead volcano with its potential disruption. So, all our psychological difficulties, emotional problems, social and political conflicts must be attended to by penetrating the source and removing the root causes to enable us to achieve the real solution, the cure. Bear in mind that whenever something happens that requires our attention, the first thing to do is turn to the source as the primary awareness before taking action or non-action.

This book, Turning to the Source, points out clearly how separation from our Origin of Wholeness/Oneness causes so many psychological and emotional problems in life. Living our lives under the energy system of a separate self brings about tremendous challenges, including the fundamental illusion as to self and other, distorted perception, and conception of reality. We then lose sight of our real beingness, getting confused and muddled up with what is illusive or unreal and what is real. As a result, most of us end up taking the unreal as real, and the real as unreal. For example, the primary illusion of a separate self is taken into our belief system as a solid reality, while the void, the absence of such a separate self, is considered a sheer illusion. So, the truth is distorted and turned upside down - we are left in the darkness of ignorance, while still imagining that we live in the light of clarity. The loss of reality is not even conceived of in our conscious process. Consequently, we follow extreme practices in life. Some of us maintain that only the spiritual matter is real and the psychological and physical world is unreal; some others hold the view that only the physical/psychological world is real and the spiritual realm of existence is unreal. This is the basic game of illusion that ignorance is playing on us. But upon returning to the source of Wholeness/Oneness, the ultimate consciousness of love and wisdom, all our problems disappear just like smoke vanishing into the sky. In the experience of supreme consciousness, no one exists to create a problem, while in the experience of ordinary consciousness there is always somebody sitting there creating problems out of anything that arises. And all the problems stem from the original wound of our separation from Wholeness/Oneness. Believe it or not, we all try to heal this deep, deep wound in many different ways and by various means so that we can return to our complete union with the Void, the Tao, the Dharma, or God, while still living in harmony with the illusion of a separate self. Once the world of illusion is seen and recognized as an illusion, instead of becoming illusive about the illusion, we manage to draw strength out of such an illusive matter and integrate it into our daily living.

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 1990

Also by Dhiravamsa: The Middle Path of Life

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