MEANINGFUL THERAPY WORKS BEST

Michael HoffmanMindfulness, TherapyLeave a Comment

Clients ask therapists the same questions over and over.... What should I do? Do you think it's my fault? Why did this happen to me? Meaning-centered therapists never answer these questions. They help you peel away layers of cognitive and emotional distortions so you can use a spiritual viewpoint to see value in your problems. Sometimes life drops a random bomb through little or no fault of your own. Your get downsized at work. You lose your retirement savings to a funky market. Your spouse betrays you. Your teenager dies in an auto accident. Nothing makes sense. A massive wall ... Read More

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION TRAINING IN O.C.

Michael HoffmanMeditation, Mindfulness, Self-ImprovementLeave a Comment

The original Pali name for mindfulness meditation is “Vipassana." It translates to “seeing things as they really are." Vipassana meditation training teaches you to simply observe both pleasant and unpleasant thoughts, emotions and body sensations with a calm, non-reactive mind. You feel like you’re watching a movie about yourself. You get fascinated by how all these impermanent sensations just arise and pass away one after another, in a flow of consciousness. Since Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, taught Vipassana around 350 B.C., many versions calling themselves Vipassana have popped up in cultures around the world. If you want the most authentic ... Read More

SOBER BUDDHA MESSAGE TO SANGHIA MEMBERS

Michael HoffmanConsciousness, Meditation, Mindfulness, Personal Growth, Self-Improvement, SpiritualityLeave a Comment

Dear Sangha Friends, This morning's conversation reminded me of why I meditate in the first place, and why I'm devoting my last quarter of life to consciousness work. It's because I've always felt deep inside (even as a child) that there was more to life than what was right in front of me. I've always wanted to know why things are the way they are. Meaning behind meaning behind meaning, that's the ticket. So the inevitable question comes up at age 68 -- "With all the challenges I've faced, what's the meaning of my life? Why am I even here, ... Read More

IQ VS EQ – SMART PEOPLE CAN ACT REALLY DUMB

Michael HoffmanPersonal Growth, Self-Improvement1 Comment

How many very intelligent people have you known who just can't seem to get their act together in social, business or personal relationships? They seem to be clueless or ambivalent about how their behavior effects other people. They can be undependable, volatile, selfish and cruel, but often aren't aware of it. You wonder -- "How can a smart person like that make such stupid decisions?" If you had a random sampling of 100 U.S. adults with high 130 IQs and 100 people with average 100 IQs, the lower IQ group would perform better on functional behavioral intelligence tests than the ... Read More

LETTER FROM SUSAN

Michael HoffmanLove Issues, Meditation, Self-ImprovementLeave a Comment

April 1, 2015 Dear Sober Buddha, I've thought about learning to meditate since I saw the 60 Minutes TV story on mindfulness with Anderson Cooper last month. Maybe it can solve my relationship problems. I'm almost 50 years old, divorced twice and I haven't been single since age 15. My father died when I was six years old, and my mother remarried an abusive alcoholic who constantly criticized and punished me. I had two pregnancies in my teens, then married my high school boyfriend. I divorced him 20 years later, because he was narcissistic and not too bright. Then I ... Read More

THE CIRCUS MONKEY – A FABLE ABOUT THE MIRACLE OF COMMITMENT

Michael HoffmanLove Issues1 Comment

A fable is a short tale that delivers a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters. The Circus Monkey teaches us the value of staying committed to something we really want, even when other people and situations conspire to make us give up. Sometimes we hit rough spots in meditation and are tempted to give it up in favor of a quicker fix, but if we sit through our discomfort mindfully, we find that it always passes and that pleasant experience of equanimity returns. Enjoy this fable. See what you think all the characters and situations represent. ... Read More

THE SMILING SAINT

Michael HoffmanPersonal Growth, Self-Improvement, SpiritualityLeave a Comment

The legendary Tibetan saint Milarepa could bring peace and happiness to anybody. He could look right through people’s bravado, bluster and bloviation and read the stories in their hearts. He lived in a cave way up in the Himalayas where he meditated and studied ancient texts about secrets in the human heart. Angry, hurt and sad, people from all corners of the world sought Milarepa’s help. He welcomed those brave souls who made the hard trek up the steep cold mountain trails to sit with him beside a warm fireplace and talk about their problems. Many lesser saints told bitter, ... Read More

WHAT DOES MY SYMPTOM WANT? – PART I

Michael HoffmanAnxiety, DepressionLeave a Comment

Is it always necessary to run to therapy when you’re stuck in a depressive episode? Super-heavy thoughts and feelings can look like clinical depression, but they can also be the key to mental alchemy and new meaning to your life.  It’s true - depressive episodes often mask existential and spiritual breakthroughs. When depression and anxiety overwhelm you, look your shadow in the eye. Look deeper inside than you ever thought possible. Then just ask this healing powerful question....WHAT DOES MY SYMPTOM WANT?[D]epressive episodes often mask existential and spiritual breakthroughsMichael Hoffman, Sober Buddha Counseling Depression happens when your conscious mind (ego) feels ... Read More

HOW MANY THERAPIES ARE THERE?

Michael HoffmanSelf-Improvement, TherapyLeave a Comment

You can take your pick from ancient pagan rituals designed to appeal to the gods to modern electroencephalographic machinery (yes, there is a gadget that shoots magnetic impulses into your brain!).  A heavily researched list would be too long and too impractical to write or read.  You probably just want to know what’s most available to you here and now. FACT:  There is no relationship between insurance coverage and therapeutic effectiveness. FACT:  The modern word therapy comes from Latin meaning “to tend to and care for the soul."  Just remember that next time some therapist insists that you have to ... Read More

BE MINDFUL OF THE BOGUS LOVE SYNDROME – Part 2

Michael HoffmanAddiction, Love IssuesLeave a Comment

When you believe you have a stable relationship because intimate interaction with someone is lighting your fire, you’re often completely unconscious of the facts. Here’s how Bogus Love Syndrome (BLS) operates psychologically. In any relationship, all you really know for sure is how you think and feel. You have absolutely no control over how the other person feels or behaves. Your alleged partner, the pretender, probably perceives the relationship in a completely different way. You persist in projecting positive qualities onto the pretender that he/she doesn’t really possess. These projections are nothing but thoughts; not tangible realities. Meanwhile, the pretender ... Read More