Past has passed away.
Future has not arrived.
Present does not remain.
Nothing is reliable; everything must change.
You hold on to letters and names in vain,
Forcing yourself to believe in them.
Stop chasing new knowledge.
Leave old views behind.
Study the essential
And then see through it.
From Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
There is a mistaken belief that therapy works like a classroom, if you attend enough sessions you will learn new and improved ways of coping with the world. While there are programs offering limited number of meetings to learn about stress management and building your self-esteem, the process of having a deeper understanding of who we are, is not so straight forward. The concepts and strategies of these programs are designed to effectively address unhealthy and self-destructive ways of managing relationships. But who is it that is learning these letters and names? We are in a constant state of change, every moment, every breath brings a new experience into our conscious awareness. Being able to sit with a therapist and reflect on the experiences of learning brings us close to the essential and we see through it when a new insight emerges out of the conversation. Instead of chasing new knowledge we consider all that has passed away; all that has not arrived; and all that does not remain. By leaving old views behind we create a space for a newly created self to emerge.