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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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)
Quotes For Life
The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve
forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
There is only one decision you need to make-either you are working at your Freedom
or accepting your Bondage.
We have met the enemy and it is us!
Never assume malice when incompetence will suffice.
Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't
take an interest in you.
Solve et Coagula (Dissolve and Unite)
A foolish thought, -and we become the Buddha.
If it's not paradoxical, it's not true.
Good pitching will always stop good hitting-and vice versa.
If you want something then you lose everything. If you don't want anything then
you already have everything.
I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can
never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.
This is the real secret
of life: to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.
And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.
A Messiah's primary function among Humans
boils down to this: that all of life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable
network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Change is inevitable.
Growth is optional.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Nothing real can be threatened.
which is, never ceases to be. That which is not, never comes into being.
It is my deep conviction that justice is indivisible, that injustice anywhere
is a threat to justice everywhere.
If the only prayer your say in your entire life is "thank you," that
Bachelor: A man who never makes the same mistake once.
It ain't so much the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things
we know that just ain't so.
It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption
to forgive them for having witnessed our own.
A confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
On some positions cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?"
Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?"
Vanity asks the question, "Is it popular?"
But conscience must ask the question, "Is it right?"
And there comes a time when one must take a stand that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular.
But one must take it because it is right.
And that is where I find
If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work
is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.
If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.
The leaders who work most
effectively, it seems to me, never say "I." They don't think "I."
They think "we"; they think "team."??
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.
Once you know with absolute
certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard
your desires and fears, concepts and ideas and live by truth alone.
want to stop being the slave of a ghost, you must demand that ego-mind show its
face. No true ghost will show up when it hears this! You can practice this simple
meditation throughout the day. Whenever you don't know what to do with yourself,
challenge your ego-mind to show its face. When you're cooking your dinner or waiting
for the bus, challenge your ego-mind to show its face. Do it especially when ego-mind
overwhelms you, when you feel threatened, fearful, or enslaved by it. Just straighten
your posture and challenge ego-mind. Don't be gullible, wiggly, or spineless.
When you challenge ego-mind, be firm but gentle, penetrating but never aggressive.
Just say to your ego-mind, "Show me your face!" When no mind shows up
saying, "Here I am," ego-mind will begin to lose its hold on you and
your struggles will lighten up. See if this isn't true. Of course, maybe your
mind does have a face and your experience will be different. But if you don't
find a mind with a face, you won't take your struggles so seriously, and all of
your pain and suffering will lessen.
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas
in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should,
for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make
A great deal of life depends on who smacked your hand at breakfast when you were
There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
The relative and the absolute are identical.
The unwilling led by
the incompetent doing the ridiculous.
I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose
purposes are modeled after our own-a God, in short, who is but a reflection of
Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?
gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that
is not gold.
Somehow it was very simple and easy in my case. My guru, before he died, told
me: "Believe me, you are the Supreme Reality. Don't doubt my words, don't
disbelieve me. I am telling you the truth, act on it". I could not forget
his words and by not forgetting, I have realized. Once the guru told me: "You
are the Supreme Reality", I ceased having visions and trances and became
very quiet and simple. I found myself desiring and knowing less and less, until
I could say in utter astonishment: "I know nothing, I want nothing."
Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment and the other
by acts of love. Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent
than the one derived from fear of punishment.
What we forgive too freely doesn't stay forgiven.
Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other's pain may somehow be a cause of happiness for themselves or that their own happiness is more important, regardless of what pain it may cause. But this is shortsighted. No one truly benefits from causing harm to another sentient being . In the long run causing others misery and infringing their rights to peace and happiness results in anxiety, fear, and suspicion within oneself.
When everything will have been said and done, more will have been said than done.
The privilege of a lifetime
is being who you are.
Time has but one reality, that of the instant.
In fact, being in a position to decide the use of one's time-and the hours one
is present at the office-indicates that one has arrived.
The great path has
The end of illusion,
The absolute is a very lonely place.
Be not elated by fortune; be not depressed by adversity.
Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.
Discard every self-seeking motive as soon as it is seen and you need not search
for truth; truth will find
Spiritual maturity is being ready to let go everything. Giving up is a first step,
but real giving-up is the insight that there's nothing to be given up, since nothing
is your property.
Having realized that I am one with, and yet beyond the world, I
became free from all desire and fear. I did not reason out that I should be free,
I found myself free, unexpectedly, without the least effort.
Meet your own self.
Be with your own self, listen to it, obey it, cherish it, keep it in mind ceaselessly.
You must find your own way. Unless you find it yourself, it will not be your own
way and will take you nowhere. Earnestly live your truth as you have found it,
act on the little you have understood. It is earnestness that will take you through,
not cleverness-your own or another's.
Either you remain forever hungry and thirsty, longing, searching, grabbing, holding,
ever losing and sorrowing, or go out wholeheartedly in search of the state of
timeless perfection to which nothing can be added, from which nothing-taken away.
Once the illusion that the body-mind as oneself is abandoned, death loses its
terror, it becomes a part of living ... All happiness comes from awareness. The
more we are conscious, the deeper the joy. Acceptance of pain, non-resistance,
courage and endurance - these open deep and perennial sources
I want to stay as close to the edge
as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't
see from the center.
If I'm not for myself, who am I for.
Effortless Choiceless Awareness is our Real State.
If one cannot believe in God, it does not matter. I suppose he believes in himself,
in his own existence. Let him find out the source from which he came.
That which you already
are, pure awareness.
You will never know the world aright till the Sea floweth in your Veins, till
you are Clothed with the Heavens, and Crowned with the Stars; And perceive yourself
to be the Sole Heir of the Whole World; And more then so, because Men are in it
who are every one Sole Heirs, as well as you. Till you are intimately Acquainted
with that Shady Nothing out of which this World was made; Till your spirit filleth
the whole World and the Stars are your Jewels; Till you love Men so as to Desire
their Happiness with a thirst equal to the zeal of your own.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is
the friend of silence. See how nature-trees, flowers, grass-grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.
Try to pay more attention
to the silence than to the sounds
Every sound is born out of silence, dies
back into silence, and during its life span is surrounded by silence
is an intrinsic but unmanifested part of every sound, every musical note, every
song, and every word.
God's first language is silence. Everything else is a translation.
I don't have to tell
you it goes without saying there are some things better left unsaid. I think that
speaks for itself. The less said about it, the better.
The primary reality is not what I think, but that I live, for those also live
who do not think.
The "moment" has no yesterday or tomorrow. It is not the result of thought
and therefore has no time.
The Now is indivisible. Completeness, the now, is an absence of the conscious
mind to strive to divide that which is indivisible.
Too many people are looking at "what is" from a position of thinking
"what should be."
Most human beings are lost in abstraction. They believe that what they think should
happen is more important than what is actually happening.
You can measure the depth of a person's awakening by how they serve others.
and the sum total of all mysticism, philosophy, and meditation, of everything
one learns and develops, is to be a better servant to humanity. Everything from
the beginning to the end in the spiritual path is a training to be able to serve
mankind better, and if one does not do it with that intention, one will find in
the end that one has accomplished nothing.
Wherever you are is the entry point.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening
ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the
potential to turn an entire life around.
Success is the result of good judgment, good judgment is a result of experience,
experience is often the result of bad judgment.
The secret of beginning a life of deep
awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth
as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible
renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of
our lives. Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning
through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. In the complexities of our
minds and lives we easily forget the power of attention, yet without attention
we live only on the surface of existence. It is just simple attention that allows
us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn
leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched. We need to be fully present
in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this
moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it.
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all
the way, and not starting.
What I am concerned with is my readiness to obey the call of Truth, my God, from
moment to moment, no matter now inconsistent it may appear. My commitment is to
truth, not consistency.
We are here, and it is now. Further than that, all human knowledge is moonshine.
He who binds himself
to joy, does the winged life destroy. He who kisses the joy as it flies, lives
in eternity's sunrise.
Direct treatment of the ting.
People in distress will sometimes prefer a problem that is familiar
to a solution that is not.
If you ask a good man: "Why are you seeking God?," he will reply: "Just
because he is God!" "Why are you seeking truth?" "Just because
it is truth!" As life lives on for its own sake, needing no reason for being,
so the just man has no reason for doing what he does.
Have you ever noticed? Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going
faster than you is a maniac.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed
through life trying to save.
It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.
Nature does not hurry, yet
everything is accomplished.
Paradoxical as it may seem, the purposeful life has no content, no point. It hurries
on and on, and misses everything. Not hurrying, the purposeless life misses nothing,
for it is only when there is no goal and no rush that the human senses are fully
open to receive the world.
I believe that man must get rid of illusions that enslave and paralyze him; that
he must become aware of the reality inside and outside of him in order to create
a world which needs no illusions. Freedom and independence can be achieved only
when the chains of illusion are broken.
The answer, the eternal home, will never, never
be found so long as you are seeking it, for the simple reason that it is in yourself-not
the self that you are aware of and that you can love or hate, but the one that
always vanishes when you look for it. As soon as you realize that you are the
Center, you have no further need to see it, to try to make it an object or an
experience. This is why the mystics call the
Before thinking, there
is no mind. When thinking appears, mind appears. When mind appears, dharma appears.
When dharma appears, form appears. And when any kind of form appears, then suffering
appears: life and death, happiness and unhappiness, good and bad, like and dislike,
coming and going. Mind disappears, dharma disappears. Dharma disappears, form
disappears. Form disappears, then life and death, good and bad, happy and unhappy,
coming and going-everything disappears. So don't make mind, okay?
The energies that keep
us alive are joy, generosity, compassion, curiosity, truthfulness, serenity, equanimity,
wakefulness, one-pointedness, and impeccability-the qualities of mind that Buddhist
teaching sometimes calls paramitas, or perfections, or sometimes bojjhangas, the
factors of enlightenment. They are qualities of awakened mind as well as qualities
that can be cultivated to aid awakening.
Similarly, the realized man is egoless; he has lost the capacity of identifying
himself with anything. He is without location, placeless, beyond space and time,
beyond the world.
Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem.
between the right word, and the almost-right word, is the difference between the
lightning...and the lightning BUG.
It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person,
Liberation is our nature. It is another name for us. Our wanting freedom is a
very funny thing. It is like a man who is in the shade, voluntarily leaving the
shade, going into the sun, feeling the severity of the heat there, making great
efforts to get back to the shade, and then rejoicing: "How sweet is the shade!
I have reached the shade at last!
You are a mirage that doesn't know you are a mirage.
The ego or God. The ego consumes the world in order to become God or God consumes
the ego leaving only God. In the latter case the problem of dissatisfaction and
limitation is dissolved. In the former case it is only perpetuated, rather like
drinking salty water to slake thirst or pouring fuel on a fire to put it out...
The human capacity to
move imaginally from one level of reality to another could be called the transcendent
'Tis strange - but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction.
I am a citizen
of the Universe,
Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates,
and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure
and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.
If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be
content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the Present
with the Past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past
is it to be encountered. Proust in Venice, Matisse's birdcages overlooking the
flower market at Nice, Gide on the seventeenth-century quais of Toulon, Lorca
in Granada, Picasso by Saint-Germain-des-Prés: there lies civilization
and for me it can exist only under those liberal regimes in which the Present
is alive and therefore capable of assimilating the Past.
Often the people that most antagonize us are
the ones we need most to teach us what we want to learn.
"We try to save so many things in life with vague mysticism, but the mysticism has to stand on a base of total frankness and on a cold and piercing examination of things. Most people only see in life what it's permissible to see, but we must free ourselves from all existing ideas...then life becomes rich and abundant even in moments of deep suffering.
distress here is really terrible [Auschwitz]. And still, in the evening, when
the day recedes, I walk with bright footsteps by the wire fence, and from my heart
arises always the feeling that Life is wonderful and grand... I find rest within
myself. And this "Self", this deepest and richest part of me, I call
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
We cannot put
off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of life is its
urgency, 'here and now' without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us
Always we hope someone else has the answer. Some other place will be better. It
will all turn out. This is it. No one else has the answer. No other place will
be better. And it has already turned out.
Your enemy is your greatest teacher
The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.
Dream as if you'll
Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in an eternity. We have
only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.
If you can imagine
it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.
It's an amazing
fantasy cleverly disguised as your life.
The most important thing is, only do it. When you only do something, 100 percent,
then there is no subject, no object. There is no inside or outside. Inside and
outside already become one. That means you and the universe are never separate.
There is no thinking.
doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the
care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.
deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion. It is wordless.
It is beyond words, and it is beyond speech, and it is beyond concept. Not that
we discover a new unity. We discover an older unity. My dear brothers, we are
already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our
original unity. What we have to be is what we are.
The poet lights the light and fades away. But the light goes on and on.
The young do not
know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve
it, generation after generation.
Look within, thou art the Buddha.
Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past,
threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.
Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters
as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where
I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that
I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it's just that I see mountains
once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters."
virgin birth of Jesus symbolizes that there's something born within you that doesn't
come about through the union of opposites - something that isn't of the dualistic
world. When we've returned our consciousness to its source, what wakes up is that
which is not the body, not the mind, not the personality. Your true nature is
before and beyond all pairs of opposites.
Nearly all men die of their remedies, and not of their illnesses.
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
Form is empty of a
separate self, but it is full of everything in the cosmos. The same is true with
feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.
Buddahood does not happen by being made to happen. It is unsought and naturally
indwelling, and so is spontaneously present. Rest non-conceptually in this effortless,
naturally abiding state.
We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.
You can't polish a turd,
but you can roll it in glitter.
The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is
luck is jumping from one failure to another without loosing your enthusiasm.
Luck is what happens
when preparation meets opportunity.
Graphs are like bikini's: they bring all sorts of ideas into your mind but they
do hide the essence!
I am still learning.
If you want my opinion on the mystery of life and all that, I can give it to you
in a nutshell: the universe is like a safe to which there is a key. But the key
is locked up in the safe.
To handle yourself, use your head, to handle others, use your heart.
Four steps to achievement:
Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.
No matter how often
modern man thinks of God or goes to church, or how much he believes in religious
ideas, if he, the whole man is deaf to the question of existence, if he does not
have an answer to it, he is marking time, and he lives and dies like one of the
million things he produces. He thinks of God, instead of experiencing being God.
Never look down on anybody unless you're helping
Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked
by the laughter of the gods.
The great tragedy of science: the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.
The act of will activates
psychopathology of the average
a culturally determined
form of developmental arrest.
Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.
Anxiety is a messenger
telling us we are about to go into unknown territory.
Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart
The truth is recognized, not taught or learned.
The absence of fear
is not courage
the absence of fear is some kind of brain damage.
Our life transformation
is in exact proportion to the amount of truth we can take without running away.
And so each venture is
a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
There is only the fight to recover
what has been lost.
Real suffering burns clean. Neurotic suffering creates more and more soot.
The beginning of wisdom
is to call things by their true names.
Success is the result of good judgment.
We are never further from our wishes than when we imagine that we possess what
we have desired.
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