This Is Water

Last weekend, I lead a residential wellbeing retreat at the Dan Anderson Renewal Center on the Center City, Minn., campus of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. We examined the origin and nature of suffering, and some potential solutions.

We used David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water as our core text. Here are my PowerPoints that explore some related ideas:

Many thanks to Paul Anderson for inviting me to lead the retreat. And a huge thanks to Peg Schroeder for assistance with planning and onsite support.

Based on positive evaluations, it seems likely that we will offer the retreat again to all comers (not just health professionals). ✸

Who Am I?

I’m finally getting around to memorializing some of the “self-help” books that have helped me over the years. The thread that runs through this grouping is the difference between “I” and “me” (or “true self” vs. “false self” or “observing self” vs. “observed self”—this has been described in various ways).

David A. Frenz, M.D.

“Me,” the conceptual self, can suffer; “I,” which is pure awareness or consciousness, never can. The end of suffering involves withdrawing your attention from “me” and resting in “I.”

This can be a little difficult to understand, let alone practice, which is why I seldom use it psychotherapeutically. But for those who are ready, it can be liberating.

Anthony de Mello’s Stripping Down to the “I” (starts on Page 46) is a great place to start. If it seems like nonsense, don’t be troubled and simply ignore this post. If, however, you’re intrigued, consider reading on.

Received Wisdom — 1

Suffering


 

Mental suffering takes place when we don’t get what we want, or when we’re forced to live with and endure what we don’t want.

—Steve Hagen

 


Steve Hagen. Buddhism Plain and Simple. Boston: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1997, p. 30


Received Wisdom is the big ideas that I use with patients. This post is the first in a series of many.