Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
While Dr. Friedman is no longer with us, there are still many helpful resources on his site. Articles and resource links have been relocated to the top. His family hopes you might find them helpful. But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.


Articles by Dr. Friedman
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Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)

Categorized by Process | Topic

From His Book | Meditations For Life | The Flow of Money, Business and Innovation | Transpersonal/Mind-Body | Approaches, Worldview and Will-isms

Skills For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | Feeling, Thought, Communication & Action

Strategies/Distinctions For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free

Awakening Stories/Metaphors For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | The Way It Is

Holiday Family Gatherings | Cartoons, Jokes and Humor | Poems and Quotes | Song Lyrics, Wit and Wisdom

Poems and Quotes

Poetry For Life 5

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all."
—Alfred Lord Tennison


However you believe the world to be, that's
exactly how the world will present itself to you.

You are always living your life out into your
beliefs about how life is.

You'll see something in your life whenever you
begin to believe it strongly enough.

It's not the other way around.

In fact, you're creating your own private hell
every day through your attachment to your
belief that this, right here and right now…
is not heaven.
—Chuck Hillig


Skull's laughter
Is a suggestion
The remaining
Cheshire cat smile
A permanent tattoo
On the skin of nature
Left over repeatedly
As a hint and clue
By our long departed
Friends and foes
Enjoy the same timeless joke.
Deathless and birth-less
—Yosy A. Flug


O my Lord!

if I worship you
from fear of hell, burn me in hell.

If I worship you
from hope of Paradise, bar me from its gates.

But if I worship you
for yourself alone, grant me then the beauty of your Face.
—Rabia (Rabi'a Al-'Adawiyya)


He who Doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er Believe, do what you Please.
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out.
A Riddle, or the Cricket's Cry,
Is to Doubt a fit Reply.
—William Blake, Auguries of Innocence


Take someone who doesn't keep score,
who's not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality: He's free.


Is fear's
Greatest dread
Its deadly

No fear
Can survive
Heartfelt laughter...
Remember, lucky friend:

God's will created
All this
With a wink,
For amusement,
Pure joy
And everlasting

Timeless bliss
Beyond mind
Impersonal and boundless
Is your true, essential

So, reposing in this remembrance,
Cultivate fearlessly
Your unconditioned
Inner smile!
—Yosy A. Flug


Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.
All of life is an experiment.
The more experiments you make the better.
What if they are a little coarse,
and you may get your coat soiled or torn?
What if you do fail,
and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice.
Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Peonies bloom on peony trees.
A cat doesn't become a chicken.
Tulips are tulips, not roses.
Why can't we realize this true fact?
That to be me is great.
I don't have to be anyone but me.
I am blooming as I am in my life, just as
a peony blooms on a peony tree.
Further, a beautiful peony flower does not
worry about when it will wilt and fall to the ground.
It does not compete with the flower next to it;
rather it blooms with its whole self.
—Sensie Ogui, Zen Shin Talks, "So What Is There To Realize?".


George Demont Otis     Autumn Splender

Birds make great sky circles of their freedom.
How do they do it?
They fall, and in falling they are given wings.
—Jallaludin Rumi


At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity;
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from not towards
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
I can only say; there we have been; but I cannot say where
And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
—T. S. Eliot, "Burnt Norton"


This aloneness is worth more than a thousand lives.
This freedom is worth more than all the lands on earth.
To be one with the truth for just a moment,
Is worth more than the world and life itself.

—Jallaludin Rumi


Organized religion

All temples, shrines and prayer houses,
synagogues, churches and mosques
whether imposing pinnacles of architecture
or run-down, ransacked shacks
are merely dojos, spiritual training halls.

Prayers, rituals, ceremonies and observances
Designed to remind the believers in awe
The presence and lordship of the almighty.
Gymnasiums training devoted soldiers,
Elite troops at the service of the deity…
Worshippers of sublime symbols
United by commonly shared fears.

But no matter the what the denomination,
Truth/god/self/void is one and all pervading,
Knowing all the innermost secrets and intents
From without and from within.

In timeless, ever-present reality
Genuine prayer starts
When the believer
Leaves the temple behind

—Yosy A. Flug

Refuse to fall down.
If you cannot refuse to fall down,
refuse to stay down.
If you cannot refuse to stay down,
lift your heart toward heaven,
and like a hungry beggar,
ask that it be filled,
and it will be filled.
You may be pushed down.
You may be kept from rising.
But no one can keep you
from lifting your heart
toward heaven...
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés


"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
"Oh no, no," said the little fly; "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."...
—Mary Howitt, The Spider and the Fly


Oneness with God

A fish cannot drown in water,
A bird does not fall in air.
In the fire of creation,
God doesn't vanish:
The fire brightens.
Each creature God made
must live in its own true nature;
How could I resist my nature,
That lives for oneness with God?
—Mechthild of Magdeburg (1207 - 1297) [English version by Jane Hirshfield]


Sitting quietly

Doing nothing
Spring comes
And the grass grows by itself.
—Zen proverb


Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant-
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delights
the Truth superb surprise

As Lightning to the children eased
with explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
or every man be blind.
—Emily Dickinson, Poem #1129 in The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson


God, whose love and joy
are present everywhere,
can't come to visit you
unless you aren't there."
—Angelus Silesius (1624-1677)


Basic truth is
When you go to the core
of the Principle
we all are One.

Once you
the Absolute,
is just your
playing cards.
—Swami Amar Jyoti, In Light of Wisdom.


George Demont Otis     Trees and Creek

Heaven has a vast, mindless mind.
Human has a mind.
The earth embraces everything with broad virtue.
Why does man's mind learn only poisonous thoughts?
Even when the roaring volcano rolls across the earth,
do the sun and moon get angry?

Wise men!
Learn the virtue of taking off.
If, all day long, you follow the rights and wrongs
of the mundane world, you cultivate a heart attack.
He goes on his way, so let him go.
You have your job, so watch only your way.

Sometimes, in the quiet of the night,
in your spare time, chant silently.
Sometimes, do meditation, enter into a deep samadhi.
All of existence, the sun, the moon, and the stars,
all are my guiding light.
All of them are joyful, all of them are precious.
So, always there is a contented laughter."
—Kyunghoon Sunim, Living Peace


Unconscious people read the scriptures
like parrots saying Ram, Ram,
in their cages.

It's all pretend-knowledge.
Read rather, with me, every
living moment as prophecy.
—Lalla, 14th Century North Indian mystic


This whole baobab tree of illusion
With its roots
And its trunk and its fruits
And its sap
And its bark
And all its branches and leaves
and its shade too

All of it
The whole complete tree
Is contained
In the tiny seed
Known as
—Yosy A. Flug



Steve Toth

Water doesn't struggle
to get where it's going
It follows the pull of gravity
all the way down
the mountains & torn eagle cries
all the way to the ocean
As a poem is what's left
after the words are finished
trust the earth to bear
something greater than despair

In this interconnected world where
nothing is ever going to waste
why do my eyes always seem
to be tearing up
whatever they look at?
If there's a hope
for every fear
then why abandon any hope
unless you've abandoned
the fear completely?

I'm song for as long
as I'm singing
Memory like human history
goes no further
than the present instant
The weather says to keep changing
Silence alone hungers in the wild
Dance before the fire
The moment of creation
is always at hand.


George Demont Otis     Corte Madera Grade

Gathering of Souls

Come one, come all
let's share the toast
as long as the night prevails;
the wine of love is here
drink, drink from the fountain head
or in your earthen or emerald bowls
sing and dance with ecstasy
forget all fears of morrow
the living moment is now
let your spirits out
of your terrestrial bin
until the day breaks
and night falls again
to bring us together
for the revelry of soul
like wildebeast
gathering at the water hole


I think, therefore I am mistaken.
thoughts come and go,
thoughts pass. change lasts?
but the omnipresent, nameless
our inexplicable essence/self
remains forever unaffected,
whole, boundless and free.
all containing without another,
it is what is (and/or isn't), timeless,
void of identity and impersonal.
remember, my friend:
temporary name and form,
however sublime ˆ
is merely
an ass!
—Yosy A. Flug


In stubborn stupidity, I live on alone
befriended by trees and herbs.
Too lazy to learn right from wrong,
I laugh at myself, ignoring others.
Lifting my bony shanks, I cross the stream,
a sack in my hand, blessed by spring weather.
Living thus, I want for nothing,
at peace with all the world.

Your finger points to the moon,
but the finger is blind until the moon appears.
What connection has moon and finger?
Are they separate objects or bound?
This is a question for beginners
wrapped in seas of ignorance.
Yet one who looks beyond metaphor
knows there is no finger; there is no moon.


The Real Work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
—Wendell Berry, Collected Poems


Proverbs and Songs

Antonio Machado (1875 - 1939)
English version by Robert Bly

The eye you see is not
an eye because you see it;
it is an eye because it sees you.


Your spirit is mingled with mine

Hallaj (Mansur al-Hallaj) (9th Century)

English version by Bernard Lewis

Your spirit is mingled with mine
as wine is mixed with water;
whatever touches you touches me.
In all the stations of the soul you are I.


Sufi meditation song

I searched for God among the Christians
and on the cross and found Him not.
I went into the ancient temples of idolatry;
no trace of Him was there.
I entered the mountain cave of Hira
and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not.
With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus
and found there only 'anqa's habitation.
Then I directed my search to the Kaaba,
the resort of old and young; God was not there even.
Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina
but found Him not within his range.
Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him;
He was nowhere else.

—Jala ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Sufi Saint and Poet.


George Demont Otis     California Foothills



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