Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
Harmless: Everywhere With EveryoneA Supportive Mediation
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
My premise: A living commitment to be and remain harmless and a fine life steward are at the core of preserving yourself, feeling securely safe and progressing.
The idea and valuing of harmlessness dates back at least 2100 years ago to the Hippocratic Oath in the West and older still with the principle of Ahimsa or non-violence in the East. The Hippocratic Oath mentions being harmless no less than twice: "...abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous..." and "...will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption...." The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 5:17) certainly include harmlessness in stating, "You shall not murder" (NIV Pictorial BIBLE, 1978) or "You shall not kill" (The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, 1957).
Second only to self-preservation in meeting physiological necessities like hunger and thirst, is the essential need for secure safety, according to Abraham Maslow. Oftentimes, without insuring this life priority, other potentially healing avenues are precluded or made much harder to successfully access. Abraham Maslow (1970) with his hierarchy of needs, William J. Bryan (1961, 1962, 1964) with his order of importance of things in survival, and Scott, Sr. (1989, 1993) with his expanded rank order of life priorities, all acknowledge the importance of addressing the fundamental need of safety and security (Maslow) and physical survival (Bryan and Scott, Sr.).
Yes, allow yourself to be in a very comfortable place...taking a wonderfully deep, freeing breath...as you gently close your eyes...hold it and scan your body for any tension or tightness...and limply let this go...as you comfortable relax...that's right...Take another deep relaxing breath in while noticing any remaining knots of holding and release this...let it gently drain out of you...really fade away...Good.
Smoothly and tenderly, quickly and easily transport and project yourself to a lovely place in nature...Your Healing Place. In your own time, in your own place, at your own pace, simply be there... perhaps a place from long ago and far away that you knew belong, you felt deeply loved...you had enthusiastic dreams that powerfully beckoned you...Be there, in the late Spring or early Summer, feeling absolutely delightful.
Begin noticing all the shadings of sensations your senses attune you to...Your sense of sight, with all of its forms, colors and nuances...Your sense of smell, the entire range of olfactory experiences with their lovely, uplifting fragrances and more intense pungency...Your sense of hearing, with all the subtle and not-so-subtle sounds of nature...Your sense of touch, everything from a gentle caress to a strong hug...Your sense of taste, whether that be of vanilla or pine cones or salt air...and Your sense of intuition , the inner knowing of what is so, where you belong and what you are here to do and so much more...All senses, even beyond these, all wonderfully alive, present and yours.
Let your True Self, Best Self, who you really know yourself to most essentially be, that part of you that is always there to wisely guide, support and love you, be most present. Find just the right metaphor, image or symbol for you...Take a moment and let this come into clear vision...Let this presence within you take the lead in your quest for claiming and living the life you most dearly desire, deeply yearn for, most want to cherish and simply choose to be apart of...
Now, it is a matter of finding your strong legs and solid feet that can powerfully ground you "in but not of" this learning laboratory of earthly life. As your True Self guides you to recognize which of the following suggestion most resonate within you, visualize, feel, listen, smell, taste and intuit all that is within you, all that is revealed all around you...More and more you can begin trusting your senses and body to reliably be there for you...With all your senses, leading with your preferred ones if you will, truly experience your sturdy legs and firm, stalwart feet, securely and squarely planted on the ground--the terra firma--of workable daily life, effectively dealing with the realities of life...and remain harmless...
Bubbling up from way deep within you is a profound calling, even more, an astoundingly strong desire to be the good, even excellent animal or creature Our Creator designed us to be...absolutely harmless in thought... words...deeds... With myself, others and all living things... Always...With the sole exception of self-defense when no other alternative is available. With all your senses acting as highly sensitive and attuned radar to powerfully guide, instruct, direct and teach you exactly where you belong, with whom, doing what, toward what goals, in attaining what larger purposes... As you heed this highest call, the High Voice within and without...
Being a good animal first in remaining HARMLESS in all spheres of life may take numerous forms... Harmless grounding in the physical world may take the form of establishing very necessary structures that will truly allow greater personal freedom... Such as cultivating the discipline of making time for excellent self-care, including grooming, hygiene, satisfying rest and relaxation, time to decompress, breath and notice the artistry of the sky and clouds... Such as developing the thicker skin and stronger backbone to say and mean "NO" when appropriate and necessary in your personal relationships, your commitments, your agreements, your values, morals and ethics, and your good will, good word and good name... Being timely to show mutual respect... Being as good as your word over fulfilling promises... and making it a habit to look people deeply in the eye in a comfortable, sociable fashion, making warm, loving and solid personal contact, one human being with another... With all living things, as good earth stewards.
The balancing in the emotional realm may well take the form of giving yourself permission to feel all of your feelings... Yes, the joyous and loving, the humorous and invigorating... As well as the less comfortable ones of anger and hurt, grief and guilt... And to let all of these natural and normal emotions be given some healthy and constructive channels for expression THROUGH you...as you are ready, as it is appropriate... Like being a tuning fork letting the feeling vibration rings strongly and clearly all the way through you, producing a most resonant, beautiful sound wave.
Perhaps such adaptive, wise expression takes the form of the powerful release of hard physical work or physical exercise... Perhaps in a personal sharing with a special confidant, close relative, journal or directly with God... And then listening, wholeheartedly and actively LISTENING with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your developing soul. Possibly, to go for some deeper emotional release on occasion...and then again...can really allow these emotions to flow through, you receive their important messages, and be in the process of receiving, accepting and getting them, and then let these energy bursts within you find their own levels... And being completed, as they so arrive there, they can then naturally and normally and healthfully fade... And you reap the life-enhancing passionate emotional truths, the pearls of wisdom that were hidden inside that vibrant, moving feeling experience.
And you can further secure steady, harmless footing by developing realistic, protective policies that assure safety for yourself and others in living...being sure to watch peoples' actions and determine whether they are trustworthy individuals or not... Being certain of your goals and purposes, assets and challenges... And building, step by step, moment by moment, choice by choice the life-affirming and life-protecting structures for the highest good for all concerned, mainly being able to say "No" and feel good and loving about doing this, for the power of our "Yes" is precisely equal to the power of our "No". This would certainly include not allowing any harm to yourself, other loved ones or any living things unless in self-defense or self-preservation under difficult conditions.
In a shower of sensations, a virtual serenade of emotional colorings, let all your senses salute a mighty vision, the promise and quest to honor our animal heritage on the highest of planes by literally being "good animals" and fine life stewards, first in remaining harmless in all arenas of life. Even if severely provoked, choosing to act with humorous wit and disarming intelligence, sidestepping foolish fights over petty differences. Even when seemingly left no out, choosing to act in such a manner that helps guarantee our true values with swift self-defense and extremely firm protection of life and limb...while letting the proper authorities do their jobs as well in our support and protection.
Attune yourself to these images of what good animals know and practice daily: Good animals know to eat when they are hungry and not otherwise... Good animals know to not eat more, or carry any more weight or baggage of any sort than what best serves them in meeting their natural, healthy bodily needs... Good animals know to get plenty of exercise and healthy physical activity in daily survival, living and beyond... Good animals surely know to answer the call of their instincts, the call of nature... In our case, listening, knowing and honoring in actions the inner voice as well as the High Voice of Our Maker.
Broaden the pictures, sounds, smells, tastes, textures and intuitions with these actions patterns of such "good animals": They absolutely know better than to do their business upstream from where they drink...that is, good animals insure that what they let go of as trash gets recycled in such a way that it doesn't return to hurt that animal... How astute, intelligent and wise... Good animals know to keep their nest, home and environment naturally replenished and in good order... Good animals know better than to fowl where they live, or get in-between another mother animal and its young or a hungry animal and its food... Or any living thing and the necessities for its continued life, freedom, choice and dignity.
It just stands to reason and reality that good animals also know how to quickly detect danger, leave immediately and protect themselves and fellow loved ones... For good animals know better than to be around other animals that are their natural predators... As well as environments and settings they simply do not belong in. The best, most adaptive animals, the ones that not only live the longest, but also get to experience the finest quality of life, know when to store up food supplies and other necessities in anticipation of a cold, long winter when fewer supplies are available...Although not always needed, it is such a relief to simply know you are provided for, and well-provided for at that..."God bless the child that has its own..." for this applies to all of living creation. Surely, good animals do know to rest when they are tired, sleep deep...long...and restful in addition to pacing themselves very well...like the long distance runner completing the race in the lead to cheers...
As you take all that is most appropriately resonate...and vow unto yourself, a deeply felt and meaningful vow to BE AND REMAIN HARMLESS IN ALL WORDS... ALL THOUGHTS... ALL ACTIONS... In a powerful commitment to yourself and Our Source to honor that towering commandment, "THOU SHALL NOT KILL", certainly embraces the key principle of TO REMAIN HARMLESS. Remember the Hippocratic Oath that all physicians and healers took for over two millennia stated on two occasions to do no harm to anyone. Vow to your Creator and to yourself to make this your very own in daily actions, as you wisely choose when and where you are ready. Let your True Self help you visualized strong harmless legs...and stalwartly firm feet...squarely planted...securing solid ground...each moment....
For now... At your own speed... Come gently back to being fully in touch with the world, dealing ever more effectively with whatever reality brings you...Honoring your heartfelt vow to be and remain HARMLESS in all arenas and interactions in life... Back to full waking, alert consciousness... Take a powerful symbol that most embodies being harmless for you, with you... and also take this key phrase "HARMLESS, IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED"...so that anytime you remember your powerful symbol or take a deep breath and repeat out loud or inside yourself "HARMLESS, IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED", all you've experienced here will be there inside you once again, offering you an unfathomable depth of support in being and steadfastly remaining HARMLESS EVERYWHERE!
Opening your eyes and counting from 5 to 1... Feeling
wonderful, like coming out of a refreshing nap... Remembering all that will serve
you from this experience, and releasing and letting go all that is best you release
and forget... 5... 4... 3... 2... And, stretching with a long, satisfying, freeing
breath, 1. Fully alert, awake, refreshed, grounded and ABSOLUTELY HARMLESS with
all living things and myself... a fine life steward first and always.
Byran, W. J., Jr., "Treatment of alcoholism." Journal of the American Institute of Hypnosis, 2, (1), 1961, 38-50.
Byran, W. J., Jr., "More about zombies." Journal of the American Institute of Hypnosis, 3, (4), 1962, 41-43.
Byran, W. J., Jr., "Ponce de Leon syndrome," Journal of the American Institute of Hypnosis, 5, (1), 1964, 34-43.
Dass, R. & Levine, S., Grist for the Mill. Santa Cruz, CA.: Unity Press, 1976.
Lamsa, G. M. (translator), The Holy Bible From Ancient Eastern Manuscripts. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1957.
Maslow, A. H., Motivation and Personality (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1970.
NIV Pictorial Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1978.
John A. Scott, Sr., "Diagnostic Terminology in Medical Hypnoanalysis." Medical Hypnoanalysis Journal, 4, (2), 1989, pages 45-58.
John A. Scott, Sr., Hypnoanalysis
for Individual and Marital Psychotherapy. New York, NY: Garner Press, Inc.,
1993, pages 72-93.
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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