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Posts tagged with the category Existential Psychology Abroad

Ving, right, poses with the author.
As I begin probing Ving for why it was that she is willing to make the sacrifice to become a better barista even after seven years of brewing endless cups of coffee for customers, I returned to the Chinese Taoist concept of wu-wei. Ving told me that she travelled to Taiwan to learn the techniques and know-how of what it took to become a good...
Rumba steps illustration by Aaron O'Reilly.
After learning about Ving’s decision, my friend Evone pointed out to me the beautiful paradox in Ving’s decision to “move forward by returning to the past/origin.” Exactly right, I thought to myself! This immediately reminded me of the vital importance of the basics and fundamentals when it comes to the practice of...
The human solidarity that I envisage is not a global uniformity but unity in diversity. We must learn to appreciate and tolerate pluralities, multiplicities, cultural differences. (Gadamer in Pantham, 1992, p. 132) The realities of globalization and multicultural omnipresence initiated a socio-economic and political demand for the inclusion of the...
Time flies, which is another way of expressing the existential givens of transience and impermanence, the basic tenets of Buddhism. I mouth this to myself whenever I encounter the changes that are ubiquitous and unavoidable in China and parts of Southeast Asia. Many of the coastal big cities in China are founded on the backs of migrant workers....
Photo by Robert G. McInerney.
"I want the world to recognize, with me, the open door of consciousness." -- Frantz Fanon I was recently in the Tuscany region of Italy exploring the ancient walled-in cities (Volterra, San Gimignano). They are astonishing for many reasons, and despite the distracting and rampant tourism in some of them (many little stores sell Pinocchio...
Photo by Enver Rahmanov.
Why practice cultivating compassion? Is it just another fad? I had the privilege of spending three days with the Dalai Lama earlier this year. Whenever, I have met him over the past five years, I am moved by his presence, his humility, his humor and his compassion. His message is simple and direct. It is a message of cultivating loving-kindness,...
Illustration by Carlo Benini.
I am five years old, staring outside at the puddles of 47th Avenue after a summer thunderstorm. The rain penetrates our pine front door, moistening the wood around the small rectangular windows. The musty smell of the wood attracts me. I stand uncomfortably on the tips of my toes so my mouth reaches the wet wood. I bare my little teeth and chew....
I recently wrote about my struggles with small talk, particularly in answering questions about where I am from. As someone who is a bit of a nomad, it’s difficult for me to lay claim to a “hometown.” Including some stints in temporary accommodation, I have lived in seven residences, in six cities and three countries over the last...
I just returned from the Third International Conference on Existential Psychology held in Guangzhou China from June 13–15th. As always, it was very rewarding and inspirational. At the same time, it is also during these conferences that I run myself ragged and reach the limits of my endurance and patience. Living near such limits reveals my...
Mark Yang delivering his keynote address.
The Third International Conference on Existential Psychology was held June 13-15, 2014 in Guangzhou, China, hosted by the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. The first International Conference on Existential Psychology (ICEP) began in 2010, and continues to be offered every other year at different locations in China. As with the first two...
Lu Xun
Quick to kindle, quick to calm down, an even quick to grow decadent, men of letters [i.e., a type of scholar] can always find reasons and precedents from the classics to justify their shifts of allegiance. (Lu Xun, 1931/2003) One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil. (Nietzsche, 1892/1966) The impulse in contemporary...
My friends didn't believe in giving money to homeless people. But I couldn't escape the notion that I should be doing something. It was Shanghai in maybe 2009 or 10. Wealth was everywhere, crazy wealth. In Hong Kong, we had walked through an indoor mall for three hours. It seemed endless. Commerce was alive and well. People had money, no...