Chapter 8: Putting Shoes on a Snake
Somebody can be a therapist. Tao is not against therapy, but the therapy will have a different quality. It will be wu wei; it will be action in inaction, it will be feminine. It will not be aggressive, it will not force the patient to be healed; it will simply persuade. It will simply seduce the patient to be healthy, that’s all. There is going to be a great seduction. The therapist is centered, grounded, is flowing; his presence, his light, his love, will help the patient’s energy to come up, to surface in his being. It was always there - he has lost contact.
In Zen temples they treat mad people. They don’t do anything. They take care. When they pray, the mad person comes and sits, and they are not praying for the mad person at all, that is not their concern. They are praying as usual, they are chanting as usual, and the mad person sits there. One hundred Buddhist monks chanting, and the beautiful chant, and the vibe, and the atmosphere, and the silence of a Zen community, and the trees, and the rock garden, and the whole atmosphere of it.and the patient simply sits. In fact they don’t even call him a patient, because to call a patient, a “patient”, is to fix the idea in his mind that he is ill. It is a suggestion; it is very dangerous. They don’t call him a patient - a person who needs prayer, a person who needs meditation, a person who needs relaxation, but not a patient; not that he is ill, not that something has gone wrong, that he is a nut, no.
The very idea that somebody is a nut gives him the fixation “I am a nut,” and he goes on repeating it and he tries hard not to be a nut. And there is a certain law discovered by hypnotists, they call it “the law of reverse effect.” If you try too much not to be a nut, you will become a nut. You can try and see. Try for seven days not to be a nut - continuously remain conscious “not to be a nut,” watch every act that you do - and within seven days, you will go nuts. The continuous repetition will create the reverse effect. In a Zen monastery what they think about the person is that he needs relaxation, that he was too much in the world and has become too tense, that he is too tired, that’s all. No disvalue in it, just compassion. He is not hospitalized, he is sent to a temple.
Temples used to function in the old times as the places of therapy. The temple is the right place for therapy, because the very idea is different. You are not a patient, you are not to be hospitalized, you are not to lie down on the psychiatrist’s couch; you go to the temple. You go to the temple to renew your contact with God. To renew your contact with God because he is the source of healing and health and wholeness.
Yes, a person can be a psychotherapist. In fact, only a Taoist can be an authentically real psychotherapist. But he will not be the doer. He will be just a vehicle, a medium.
The second question:
I imagine you can talk about all the “traps” of growth because you experienced these problems in your life. Would you be willing to talk about your real life experiences rather than just the abstracted, impersonal concepts?