Your Nose Pulled
great master Baso and a monk were walking along the river
when some wild geese flew overhead. "What are those?" asked
the master. "Wild geese," said the monk. "Where
have they gone?" asked the master. "They've flown away," said
the monk. The master grabbed the monk's nose and gave it
a hard twist.
are they now?" asked the master.
was the first Zen story I ever came across. I liked it because
it reminded me of
the Marx Brothers, and because it seems to be saying that the truth
are searching for is right under our nose.
Zen and therapy are not the same, both teach us to trust
ourselves and to stop
searching so wildly for solutions
ourselves. We enter into therapy in the faith that we can connect
with our own native wisdom. Gradually, we learn to let go of
the self-defeating behaviors and mental processes that keep
connecting to the wisdom that has been in us all the time.
usually enter therapy because life is twisting their nose in
some way. A spouse has walked out. A bad mood won't
A sudden disaster opens a trapdoor in the daily routine.
Or perhaps they simply
become aware of a pattern that thwarts and frustrates them — the
exciting relationships that never turn into intimacy, the
self-sabotaging acts that keep them from success — and they
want help in getting
off the treadmill.
it is never pleasant to have your nose pulled, it can be enlightening.
Suddenly, something has
got hold of
let go, and none of one's habitual evasions, bluffs, defenses,
or ways of putting a smiling face on pain seem to be working.
Although such times can be painful, even overwhelming,
they are also times
of tremendous opportunity. It is an opportunity to let
go of ways of thinking, feeling and doing that don't work, and
new ways that can lead to growth.
great British psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott said that the goal
of therapy is to allow the
patient to live creatively.
I think he meant it is to free the patient from the conditioning
causes us to cling to the same old patterns of behavior
and the same shopworn beliefs.
stereotyped ways of dealing with things, our distorted concepts,
and kneejerk responses, keep
us from living imaginatively
in the freshness of each moment, and keep us from truly
being free. To the extent that we react blindly from
missing our lives in the present moment, which is the
only place our lives happen, and the only place we
can do something
situations are invitations to wake up and change. Good therapy
assists the process. It guides us across
familiar and failed, to fresh new ways of being.