While Western psychology seems to reflect an attitude that the individual must be “helped” from without, by another person, Eastern attitudes are quite the opposite.
Eastern systems acknowledge that the individual must decide first to seek change and help her or himself through inner exploration—restructuring and cultivating mental processes (see my Worry Detox program).
Through the process of meditation and mindfulness, we are able to examine the inner workings of our mind and come to understand the nature of suffering and how it arises. We then come to experience a profound change in attitude, and ultimately come to a more accepting view of reality.
Eastern traditions teach that everything is impermanent, and subject to change Like the breath rises and falls or the seasons come and go, all things are seen as being in a constant state of transition. This means that we, too, can change. Terms such as nirvana, satori, realization, awakening and enlightenment are synonymous with our highest state of being.
Rumi’s (a Thirteenth Century Theologian and Poet) view on psychotherapy was to embrace the dread, depression and anger as a blessing. Negative emotions were a bridge to a better life. This style of coping is illustrated in his poem titled, Guesthouse:
This being human is a guesthouse
every morning a new arrival a joy, a
depression, a meanness. Some momentary
awareness comes as an unexpected
visitor. Welcome and entertain them
all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house empty of
its furniture. Still treat each guest
honorably, He may be cleaning you out for
some new delight! The dark
thought, the shame, the malice meet them
at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes because
each has been sent as a guide from the
When we can embrace the transitions in our lives, no matter how difficult, and see them as gifts and teachers rather than situations to fight against, saving a great deal of time and energy trying to "fix" ourselves through outside resources, as we find that the source of healing comes from within.