Dr David Malkin

Clinical Psychologist Perth | Counsellor Perth

Tel: 0409 227 548

The Golden Rule

In the Mahabharata (Book 13) it says 'one should never do to another which one regards as injurious to one's own self'.In the Analects of Confucius (Book 4 Chapt.3) is the passage 'The superior man does not,even for the space of a single meal,act contrary to virtue.In moments of haste,he cleaves to it.In seasons of danger,he cleaves to it'.In the Old Testament (Leviticus) is the instruction 'love your neighbour as yourself'.This injunction is repeated many times in the worlds religious literature.

Most people know this and try to act on it for reasons of personal values,social expectation,or the pleasure of being neighbourly.Some may act out of enlightened self interest in the expectation of being treated well in return or in obedience to the Law of Karma which basically asserts that 'what goes around,comes around' in this life, or the hereafter if one is that way disposed.

Although this rule is accepted many find it difficult to remember in the hurly burly of daily activities.One's own difficulties,worries and needs can take priority to the extent of others being perceived almost as the enemy.To get back on an even keel of self possession and adult functioning requires space for perpective.One way to do this is to regularly take time for 'spot' meditation or time out for personal reflection,to slow down.This takes practice and can become ingrained as a routine to get outside 'the belly of the whale' of bad feeling and see life more impartially and objectively.Working on effective communication skills to understand others,resolve problems and engaging in self esteem building activities helps to limit resentment or disrespect for others.Then  problems or difficulties can be focussed on with an 'I'm OK-You're OK' attitude. This is a work in progress which is never entirely completed.The possible value of seeing "Tat Tvam Asi'(.Thou art That),as postulated in the Upanishads, is the hope for more cohesion, harmony and balance with associated reduction in stress.

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Dreams

Dreams have been used for healing purposes since ancient times.Asclepius was the Greek god of healing and medicine.Temples in ancient Greece were devoted to him and people would sleep there and report their dreams to the priest the following day.On the basis of those reports the priest would prescribe a cure.In more modern times the founders of psychotherapy, Freud and Jung, used dreams as the 'royal road' to the unconscious.Psychological healing was attempted by analysing the latent messages carried by the dream whist the dreamer is asleep.Freud used a method of chain associations from a dream image whilst Jung advocated amplifying the symbol but staying close to it.Jung also proposed using archetypal or collective levels of interpretation rather than just personal ones.In essence,the methods are designed to tell the dreamer something which is hidden from their everyday awareness.This awareness then forms the basis for more informed choices,fuller awareness,and emotional regulation.This vehicle was used to attempt to cure a variety of neurotic ailments such as anxiety and depression.

Current day psychologists,counsellors,and therapists continue to use dreams as a medium not only for relieving psychological distress but also for personal growth and self regulation.This can be a value adding exercise to healthy living.Dream work methodology has been extended to include gestalting,or acting out,a dream. Psychodramatic techniques are sometimes used to enliven a dream. Art therapy and modelling can also be used to extract meaning from dreams.Many people feel that dreams are quite meaningless because they often do not appear to make sense.This is because dreams involve symbolic,or associative,logic not everyday sequential logic.Hence,one should not be fearful or ashamed by content that probably is referring to something which is not literal.People in dreams can often represent aspects or qualities of personality.

Although some symbols can have a common meaning,the dreamer themself is the authority on what makes sense to them.The sense of fit of an interpretation or suggestion is very personal and ideosyncratic.Over time the dreamer can become familiar with their own dream code so as to recognise more easily what continues to arise in ongoing dreaming.Working with a therapist who is familiar with dreamwork can be valuable to get started and because some meanings become more apparent when talking out loud to another person.Writing dreams down can become a worthwhile habit together with the date to keep a track of events.Using a bound blank book is worthwhile to keep a record rather than scraps of paper which are easily lost or disorganised.Generally dreams disappear quickly so it is important to have writing materials easily to hand when first waking up without other distractions such as the radio.Dreams are considered to intend to be helpful,even the nightmares.

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Meditation

Meditation can be practised in many different ways and for a multiplicity of purposes.There can be religious elements including the robes,rituals,and doctrines of Buddhism and other religions and sects.There can be conferral of spiritual energy through Shaktipat (contact with peacock feathers administered by a recognised Guru in the Kashmir Shaivism tradition) and the seeking of 'the Blue Pearl of Wisdom'.There can be insight training with the various nonreligious methods of Vipassana.Also,there can be the enchantment delivered through the chanting of different Mantras and prayers.

Many people are deterred from the recognised health and stress relief benefits of meditation because of fears about the complexity or context of the above techniques.However,in essence many meditation benefits can be derived simply from being 'in the moment'.That sort of feeling arises when spellbound by a sunset,natural scenery,gardening,or other totally absorbing activity.Some people have the idea that they can't do meditation because they think meditation has to be some sort of empty mind.Actually,just noticing one's thoughts,not following them,and returning to a focus can be very effective in producing meditation benefits.Focus can include attention to breaths,a particular image or picture,sound,smell,or sensation such as the pressure of ones feet on the ground.Benefits can be derived from short periods of minutes of practice,not necessarily hours or weeks. 

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The Culture Is Important

In 1964 Marshall McLuhan published 'Understanding Media:The Extensions of Man'.He argued that the form of a medium influences the perception of a message itself.From that derives the popular term 'the medium IS the message'.In everyday life this can be understood by seeing how the culture of a work place;sporting team or personal relationship is instrumental in determining outcomes.Often the culture,( ie.style of communication,direct or indirect,open or closed,fair or unfair,respectful or devaluing,fullsome or sparse,immediate or delayed etc.,) is set by the leadership,chief executive,coach,selector,or dominant partner.Hence,the emotional tone in an organisation,team,or relationship can feel safe or unsafe,blocked or unblocked.

In a personal relationship,if the culture feels unsafe,problem solving is difficult to achieve because of a lack of trust and negative assumptions about the real intentions and motivations of the other person.Engendering a safe culture is a worthwhile exercise.This can be done if regular and authentic compliments and appreciation are frequently exchanged to give a backdrop of connection.Time set aside for talking and sharing is important.In this way communication can be checked and clarified and agreements reached to satisfy needs.If one or or both people find it difficult to talk for various reasons,there is still great value in sharing activities together to allow a connecting energy.These activities can be simple;for example walking or cycling together,engaging in a shared hobby or course of some type, or planning a future holiday or project etc.In general it is worthwhile to attend to the medium or culture in a relationship first before expecting the most positive outcomes from problem solving.

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Freedom

Snow falls,crystal flake,

Choiceless structure of shape,yet

Fresh on face,freedom.(Malkin 1/09/13)

This is an attempt at Haiku,an ancient Japanese form of poetry.The beauty and difficulty of haiku lies in the necessary structure.Lines of five,seven,and five syllables respectively combined with Kireji and Kigo.Kireji is regarded as 'the cutting word',normally positioned at the end,produces emotion and provides structural support and linkage.Kigo,also structural is more conceptual and usually associates with a season.The reference to nature is intended to create images that,again,produces emotion as well as ideas.The overall effect is freedom within form and a sense of Zen.The above Haiku is intended to represent both in form and content the idea that freedom can be  found in structure and discipline.

Hence,following this idea, freedom is not nothing,it is something.It is not absence,it is presence.It is not formless,it is structured.The apparent freedom of a performance dancer or pianist or sporting hero is grounded in years of nurturing skill based on discipline,commitment and structure.

The popular thinking and dream of freedom is usually the opposite of this,perhaps just endlessly lazing on a beach somewhere.Instead,it is likely to feel more freeing to have a balance between activities embedded in structures that provide attachment,anchoring,and opportunities for self expression of all dimensions.

If you require the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor,please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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