Larry Christensen, Ph.D is the resident Zen teacher at the Portland Zen Center Larry discusses Zen, Psychotherapy, Recovery and Spirituality and offers his Three A’s prescription for integrating all.
As addicts, we’ve spent our lives deep in attachment to our drugs of choice, whatever they may be. Sure, Buddhism addresses attachment. But in the case of the addict it’s more like Attachment Gone Wild. For this we need a serious, specific form of medicine. For me, it’s the 12-Steps and my Buddhist practices. As a 12-Step Buddhist, I’m fully aware of this need to know the condition at a deep level because failure to stay in that knowledge almost cost me my life—more than once. It’s about knowing what the condition is and the condition is samsara. Part of what keeps us stuck in samsara is attachment. We just won’t let go, no matter how bad it hurts.
I first did Voice Dialogs with my wife in about 1988 or ’89, when she was in Psych Tech school down in Huntington Beach. We sat around the coffee table with our AA friends, talking to our individual voices in each other. It was pretty creepy, pretty powerful, and pretty real. I think it was considered kind of a dangerous therapy back then, and was somewhat controversial. Maybe people split off or disassociated and weren’t able to integrate. I was a little intrigued, and somewhat skeptical about Genpo Roshi’s approach.
Tonight I went to my Zen center for sitting practice and discussion group. I’d taken a hiatus from the Zen center in mid-summer because I had a problem with the teacher. He’d suddenly given up private interviews, due to some problems of miscommunication with a female student. I had really grown to depend on those private sessions on a weekly …