Friday, November 7, 2014

Fritz Perls and Thích Nhất Hạnh

Have you ever read Thay's book titled "Understanding Our Mind"?  At the end of Chapter 31 (p129), Thay mentioned as follows (exerpt from the book): 
Fritz Perls, one of the founders of the Gestalt school of therapy, has often been quoted as saying: 
“I do my thing, you do your thing; I’m not here in this world to live up to your expectations.…
You are you, and I am I, 
and if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful; 
if not, it cannot be helped.” 
This statement is on the notion of self and other as separate entities. It is not based on the insight of interbeing. I am not very fond of this statement. At the very least I expect you to take care of yourself, because if you take good care of yourself, I will suffer less. My students have the right to expect me to be a good teacher. This means I must practice what I teach—that is only fair. And I have the right to expect my students to put into practice what they have learned from me. That, too, is only fair.
I would like to offer this gatha as a response to the statement of Mr. Perls:
You are me and I am you.
Is it not true that we inter-are?
You cultivate the flower in you so that I will be beautiful,
And I transform the garbage in me so that you don’t have to suffer.
This is the kind of insight that is based on interbeing. If we live our lives according to this insight, we will not have to suffer so much.

Which do you choose, Fritz Perls' statement or Thay's gatha? I will definitely choose Fritz Perls' statement. My question, in other words, is "Which do you choose if you can choose either one, the insight of interbeing or unconditional self-love? I feel this difference has something to do with the difference in approaches between Thay's method (Mindfulness) and my own method (Unconditional self-acceptance). Furthermore, this difference may have something to do with the difference between Meditation and Self-Inquiry.

General Shermans tree in Sequoia Nat Park  Photo by Warren Searle