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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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)
Wit and Wisdom
For Life 2
There is no objective reality independent
Anne Lamott, quoting a friend's 5 Rules For Living:
1. Be born perfect, without imperfection or any significant differences from the majority that might make others uncomfortable.
2. If you have imperfections or are different in any way, get it fixed immediately.
3. If you can't get it fixed, at least act as if it has been fixed.
4. If you can't act as if it has been fixed, then don't show up.
5. If you must show up, at least have the decency to be ashamed.
Bumper stickers for all of us:
Mean people really suck!
Gravity. It's not just a good idea. It's the law.
Men are like microwaves and women are like crock-pots.
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
Don't argue with a fool. The spectators can't tell the difference.
I invite you to listen really deeply and with your whole body, every cell, to the wordless invisible Aliveness that is here. Say yes to being no one. Yes to resting in Nothing. Yes to open palmed, emptied-out pockets, open-hearted clueless offering of your whole being to just right here. Good-bye cleverness, good-bye being right, good-bye getting ahead, good-bye being on top. Welcome to nowhere.
Let everything die here. Let everything be washed away here. Let yourself be made so new, bathed in your own Innocent being. Giving over everything else to the Ocean and letting it dissolve like salt.
We must be emptied over and over and over. We must empty as the Holy, before the Holy, humbled, nothing, offered, waiting on nothing, listening deeply to nothing.
We are much vaster than our minds can conceive. We must be charmed, tricked, invited, welcomed, kept company with, to drop out of our everyday social reality, into right here.
We want to be moved by something other than fear. We have to let the winds come and the rains come and the storms come and be pushed to the ground. We must cling to It, beg Its mercy for every foolish moment that we thought that we were someone and could get somewhere without This.
Dare to say the dangerous prayer: Holy Nothing, take everything that's not You and leave me here, naked, stripped of every pretending and striving. Only in the Nothing, only as Nothing, only as No One, will I ever find what I'm looking for. So take my quest for enlightenment and take my fears that I'm a schmuck and just leave me here without a clue, completely open. No idea what I am or where I'm going. Just here, the quiet open, waiting for your Breath to play me.
We don't need any improvement. We don't need anything more. We just need to stop and notice. And let be whatever's here, meet it. Until we have the kind of heart that's so empty for having kissed everything in it, that it can kiss anything and call it Beloved.
There are a few kinds of peace. There's one that can be shattered because it's based on quiet music and having things just the way we feel comfortable having them. There's that kind of peace, which is a relative peace. And then there's the peace that is always here, if we check, as this content-less awareness looking out of our eyes. That content-less awareness that all of our freak-outs arise in, is never freaked out.
To be a sensitive squishy being in a loud world hurts sometimes. To witness cruelty, or to have it aimed at us, hurts. That's not a mistake. It's not a shortcoming. This is the nature of being alive and in the raw moment, is that things that are delusion, hurt.
We think when our hearts start to melt that there's something wrong. When the heart starts to ache we start to become so sensitive to the smallest hatred, whether at us or someone hating themselves. We think that's all wrong, that we're supposed to transcend all that and just smile. The only true transcendence, truly embodied transcendence, happens by meeting everything and kissing it right on the face. Anything else is an escape.
are here for the Holy to unfold through us. There is not a single one left out
of that. Not a single one in whom the process of unfolding is not happening, just
The Four Noble Truths represent the core of the teachings of the Buddha, and are as follows:
First Noble Truth
The Second Noble Truth
Fourth Noble Truth
Noble Eightfold Path
1. Right View
See things as they truly are without delusions or distortions for all things change. Develop wisdom by knowing how things work, knowing oneself and others.
2. Right Intention
Wholehearted resolution and dedication to overcoming the dislocation of self-centered craving through the development of loving kindness, empathy and compassion.
3. Right Speech
Abstinence from lies and deceptions, backbiting, idle babble and abusive speech. Cultivate honesty and truthfulness; practice speech that is kind and benevolent. Let your words reflect your desire to help, not harm others.
Practice self-less conduct that reflects the highest statement of the life you want to live. Express conduct that is peaceful, honest and pure showing compassion for all beings.
5. Right Livelihood
Avoidance of work that causes suffering to others or that makes a decent, virtuous life impossible. Do not engage in any occupation that opposes or distracts one from the path. Love and serve our world through your work.
6. Right Effort
Seek to make the balance between the exertion of following the spiritual path and a moderate life that is not over-zealous. Work to develop more wholesome mind states, while gently striving to go deeper and live more fully.
7. Right Mindfulness
Through constant vigilance in thought, speech
and action seek to rid the mind of self-centered thoughts that separate and replace
them with those that bind all beings together.
8. Right Concentration
Through the application of meditation and mental discipline seek to extinguish the last flame of grasping consciousness and develop an emptiness that has room to embrace and love all things.
Never Give Up: Portrait of an Achiever
1832 * Failed in business--bankruptcy
1832 * Defeated for legislature
1834 * Failed in business--bankruptcy
1835 * Fiancée died
1836 * Nervous breakdown
1838 * Defeated in election
1843 * Defeated for U.S. Congress
1848 * Defeated for U.S. Congress
1855 * Defeated for U.S. Senate
1856 * Defeated for Vice President
1858 * Defeated for U.S. Senate
ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.A. IN 1860
Youth is not a period of life, but an attitude of mind; It is an expression of the will, of the power of the imagination, and of the intensity of the feeling. It represents the victory of courage over cowardice, of the spirit of adventure over the temptations of indolence.
We do not grow old because we have lived for a certain number of years; we grow old if we give up our ideals. The passing years indeed tempt us to give up our high ideals, but the soul prompts us otherwise. Prejudices, doubts, fears and hopelessness are enemies who gradually bear us to the ground and turn us to dust before we are dead.
He is young, who can still be astonished and enthusiastic. He who still, like a child hungry for knowledge, asks: "An then?" He who challenges events and rejoices in the game of life.
You are as young as your faith. As old as your doubt. As young as your self-confidence. As young as your hope. As old as your depression.
stay young, as long as your readiness to take up a challenge remains: receptive
to the beautiful, the good and great; receptive to the message of Nature, of your
fellow man, of the mysterious. Should your heart one day become corroded by pessimism,
eaten away by cynicism, then may God have mercy on your soulthe soul of
an old man.
A time comes in your life when you finally get it...when,
in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and
somewhere the voice inside your head cries out...ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying
and blaming and struggling to hold on. Then, like a child quieting down after
a tantrum, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new
eyes. This is your awakening.
You realize that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings, and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you...and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are...and that's OK. They are entitled to their own view and opinions.
You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself...and in the process a sense of newfound confidence is born of self-approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you--or didn't do for you--and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that everything isn't always about you.
So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself...and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties...and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for.
You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with. You learn that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era, but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.
You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO.
You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that your body really is your temple. You begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.
You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve, and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone, and that it's OK to risk asking for help.
You learn the only thing you must truly fear is fear itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people...and you learn not to always take it personally.
You learn that nobody's punishing you and everything isn't always somebody's fault. It's just life happening. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower.
Then, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart's desire. You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. Finally, with courage in your heart, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.
Mind, body, feelings, and phenomena are empty.
Yet undeniably Angelina Jolie is hot.
When you can comprehend the emptiness of mind, body, and feeling,
And the hotness of Angeline Jolie,
Then the ten thousand things will pass through the gateless gate.
Zen is like a finger pointing at the Moon;
Once you've seen the Moon, there is no longer any need for the finger.
Unless you have to scratch yourself or something.
Wealth, Success and Love Come To Visit
A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said, "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."
"Is the man of the house home?," they asked.
"No," she replied. "He's out."
"Then we cannot come in," they replied.
In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. "Go tell them I am home and invite them in!" The woman went out and invited the men in.
"We do not go into a House together," they replied.
"Why is that?," she asked.
One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth," he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success, and I am Love." Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home."
woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How
nice!!," he said. "Since that is the case, let us
His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?"
Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!"
"Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice," said the husband to his wife. "Go out and invite Love to be our guest."
The woman went out and asked the three old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest."
Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love; why are you coming in?"
The old men replied together:
"If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed
out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there
is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!!!!!!"
It seems no good deed goes unpunished, as witness this young man's experience in trying to help an older couple at a fast-food restaurant.
He saw that the couple had ordered but one meal and an extra drink cup, then watched as the elderly gent divided the burger in half, counted out the French fries between them, then poured half his drink into the extra cup.
The old man then began to eat, his wife watching, with her hands folded in her lap.
The young man decided to ask if they would allow him to purchase another meal for them so that they didn't have to share so.
The old gentleman said, "Oh no. We've been married 50 years, and everything has always been and will always be shared, fifty-fifty."
When the young man then asked the wife if she was going to eat, she replied, "Not yet-it's his turn with the teeth."
Read This.....Let It Really Sink In-Then Choose.
John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator.
If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
He replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or. I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.
"Yes, it is," he said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."
I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.
After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.
"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," he replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."
"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked.
He continued, " The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead m an'. I knew I needed to take action."
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said John. "She asked if I was allergic to anything 'Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'." Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."
He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
have two choices now:
Rotary International: The Four-Way Test of what we think, say or do:
Birds & Bees
boy goes to his father and asks "Daddy, how was I born?"
A few weeks before he was assassinated, Gandhi the Mahatma had a conversation with his grandson Arun. He handed Arun a talisman upon which were engraved "Seven Blunders," out of which, said Gandhi, grows the violence that plagues the world. The blunders were:
Gandhi called these disbalances "passive violence," which fuels the active violence of crime, rebellion, and war. He said, "We could work 'til doomsday to achieve peace and would get nowhere as long as we ignore passive violence in our world." To his grandfather's list of seven blunders Arun later added an eighth:
Rights without responsibilities.
Gandhi gave the list to Arun in 1947.
Almost sixty years later the blunders have been institutionalized, built into
our corporations, our governments, our very culture. Not only are we no longer
embarrassed by them; we actively practice them. In some of them we even take pride.
EST's Little Book of Aphorisms by Jack Rosenberg (aka, Werner Erhard)
In life, understanding is the booby prize.
The truth believed is a lie.
If you experience it, it's the truth. The same thing believed is a lie.
Ride the horse in the direction that it's going.
You are perfect exactly the way you are.
Happiness is a function of accepting what is; Love is a function of communication; Health is a function of participation; Self-expression is a function of responsibility.
You and I posses within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives.
How to be and get rich? Find out what is needed and wanted and produce it.
You don't have to go looking for love when it's where you come from.
If God told you exactly what it was you were to do, you would be happy doing it no matter what it was.
What you're doing is what God wants you to do.
is a rip off when you expect to get what you want. Life works when you choose
what you got. Actually what you got is what you chose. To move on, choose it.
Life is a game.
The Birth of Ego
Here is a story about the birth of ego.
It was long ago, the sun had only made one cycle around the Source Star. At that time the one Over Soul was playing with physicality, dreaming pieces of itself into Human bodies. It first extended itself and dreamed a human being into the earth-life-system. It started with one human and then dreamed another. This was fun, moving down from oneness into individual bodies. Individual bodies were new experiences for the Over Soul.
When one human being would meet another on earth they knew they were the same, just extensions of the same Soul. They greeted one another as themselves. "Hello, me," one would say to the other.
"Hello me," would be the reply.
As the Over Soul was playing with its extensions
into physicality an idea was created, "This is so much fun. What new experiences
I am having. What if I took individuality even further, beyond the physical body.
What if each extension of me pretended not to be me? That would be even more fun!"
However, the Over Soul was not capable of pretending, so it created another body
that was capable of pretending, and called it the ego. Through the ego, individuality
However, something began to go wrong. As the ego grew stronger soon the human beings forgot that they were pretending. They forgot that they were connected, part of the same One. The ego took on a life of its own and began to grow. Soon, due to domination of the ego, the gift of Individuality turned into the curse of separation.
Kristopher Raphael observes, "When we pretend to be something we are not,
ego is born." He understands ego as synonymous with highly inflated self-importance.
He sees the ego as embodying pretension, that is a "false claim," in
terms of falsely trying to mimic or pretend to be the true Self and Love, creating
only oppressive control and co-dependence. Like peeling away the layers off an
onion, we can dismantle the ego through peeling the layers of ego, illusion and
ignorance to fully inhabit the Self. Like peeling the leaves of an artichoke and
biting the nourishment off each before discarding it, we can whittle the ego away
leaving only the heart that only knows how to speak the Truth and now we are prepared
and receptive to fully listen. The ego cannot directly experience the present
or Oneness; it can only mimic and imitate spirituality without authenticity.
Albert Einstein's Three Rules of Work:
1. Out of clutter, find
Loving Kindness Mediation
If anyone has hurt me or harmed me knowingly or unknowingly in thought, word, or deed, I freely forgive them.
I too ask forgiveness if I have hurt anyone or harmed anyone knowingly or unknowingly
in thought, word, or deed.
The six most important words in the English language are: "I admit I made a mistake."
The five most important words in the English language are: "You did a good job."
The four most important words in the English language are: "What is your opinion?"
The three most important words in the English language are: "If you please."
The two most important words in the English language are: "Thank you."
The one most important word in the English language is: "We."
The least important word in the English language is: "I."
The two least important words in the English language are: "I can't!"
The three least important words in the English language are: "You Screwed Up!"
The Echo of Life
A man and his son were walking in the forest. Suddenly the boy trips and feeling a sharp pain he screams, "Ahhhhhhhhh!" Surprised, he hears a voice coming from the mountain, "Ahhhhhhhhh!"
Filled with curiosity, he screams: "Who are you?" but the only answer he receives is "Who are you?" This makes him angry, so he screams: "You are a coward!" and the voice answers, "You are a coward!"
He looks at his father, asking, "Dad, what is going on?"
"Son", the man replies, "pay attention!" Then he screams, "I admire you!" The voice answers, "I admire you." The father shouts, "You are wonderful!" and the voice answers: "You are wonderful!"
Then the father explains, "People call this "ECHO", but truly it is "LIFE!" Life always gives you back what you give out! Life is a mirror of your actions. If you want more love, give more love! If you want understanding, give understanding and respect. If you want people to be patient and respectful to you, give patience and respect! This rule of nature applies to every aspect of our lives."
Life always gives you back what you give out. Your life is not a coincidence, but a mirror of your own doings.
Rules for being human
1. Your will receive a body. You may like it, or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full time informal school called life. Each day in this school you have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think they are irrelevant and stupid.
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works".
4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go to the next lesson. Periodically, the lesson will be re- presented to see if you still remember it.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learnt. If no lessons is being presented, it is likely that you are no longer alive.
6. "There" is no better than "here". When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply acquire another "there". That will again look better than "here".
7. Others are simply mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you make of them is up to you; the choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you have to do is look, listen and trust.
10. You will forget all this. That fact is itself a lesson.
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