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Posts tagged with the category Existential Psychology Abroad

At the U.N. Conference.
Last week, I wrote about how even in death, social stigmas are alive and well. Since writing that piece, I’ve seen how death and dying—one of the two existential givens of human existence—are ripe for stigmatization when something goes wrong, such as psychological distress, or a plague like this current Ebola crisis. Today I...
China, 2010. I’m in a hotel room with Mark Yang in Shanghai. I’m sleeping, he’s on the phone. It the international existential humanistic conference, and I’m there as a speaker and listener prior to a few days detached to speak in Wuhan. Mark is my bunkmate to save costs. But he’s not just a speaker, but a combination...
Parador de Alarcón.
There was a time when I was ashamed to be Chinese, when I was defensive yet embarrassed in knowing next to nothing about being "Chinese." The spell probably snapped when my mentor told me, "Jung loved China," though I did nothing to hunt for crosslinks in the bifurcated streambeds of my psyche. But falling in step with the...
Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho.
In the beginning of October, I was lucky enough to participate in a two-day workshop with Dr. Kirk Schneider, here in Athens, Greece! It was organized by “gignesthai,” the Hellenic association for Existential Psychology. I’ll write to you about this experience, with my own little words and from where I stand today. Maybe if I...
The Alchemical Union.
What are the essential elements of brewing a good cup of coffee? Certainly, one needs the proper equipment. Yet, we all know that acquiring all the right equipment does not a barista make. Just as purchasing an expensive camera does not qualify one as a good photographer. It is only the beginning. The right tools for the right job, as they say. So...
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....