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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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 But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.


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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 7

I wish I could show you
when you are lonely or in darkness
the astonishing light of your own being.


Good better best,
never never rest,
until the good is better
and the better is best.
—Benjamin Franklyn Socher (Pop) [1904 -1998]


And contains
The roar
Of a thousand
—Yosy A. Flug


love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places
yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds
—e. e. cummings


Awareness Never Changes

Beyond the moving mind lays a background of Stillness that never changes.
The mind must come to know the Self as this pervading background of Stillness.
Realize that nothing observed or experienced is you.
Nothing experienced binds or obscures you.
Take no notice of what is not your Self.
Nothing observed is ultimately who we are.
Be aware of being aware.
Be aware deliberately and consciously.
Broaden and deepen this field of awareness.
You are always conscious of the mind.
Now be consciously aware of yourself as being aware.
Be Awareness.
In this there is no separation of observer and observed.
Look upon the objects of the world.
See that all objects are extensions of Awareness.
There is only Awareness.
There is only Presence.
There is only God.
—Richard C. Miller


What is outside water

Known is what our senses feel
Unknown is beyond that.
Comes the thought of a Creator
Or No Creator itself is a deal;

some secrets are hard to unfold
some truths are hard to trace;
how can I tell what's behind the wall?
Who's there above the space??

First reason out your doubts, man,
don't judge stars by their twinkling;
get down the waters to know their depth
from seashore bears no fruit surmising.

As no idea do fish have
about what is outside water,
humans, too, do not know
what is beyond reason.
All reasons go to grave
when fish is out of water,
when humans pop off;
there is God or no God
Or, there is God but God
Life represents it
death testifies it.
— Mazbut MazHur


Is the bridge
Between being
And being not.
Called by people
"Life" and "Death".

The timeless,
All containing life,
One without a second
Has nothing to oppose.
The opposite of death
Is birth.

Inhaling -
I am born.
Exhaling -
I die.
In the meantime
My life

Praise be!
—Yosy A. Flug


Oh, tra la, la, la
Life's singular; not two
Held in synch with cosmic glue.
Plus a paper clip or two,
.....That's Reality.
—N. Nosirrah


Water Lily

My whole life is mine, but whoever says so
will deprive me, for it is infinite.
The ripple of water, the shade of the sky
are mine; it is still the same, my life.

No desire opens me: I am full,
I never close myself with refusal -
in the rhythm of my daily soul
I do not want - I am moved;

By being moved I lay down my vast visions,
making the dreams of night real:
into my body at the bottom of the water
I attract the beyonds of mirrors...
—Rainer Maria Rilke


a heart string
by a kind word
or benevolent look


makes all other hearts strings
in sympathy.

this resonating gratitude
delicately hued
—Yosy A. Flug


My sweetest moments are when I am one with my essence

When I am with my deepest self
my intimacy rises from me like the sun,
Poverty comes naturally to me.

Creation is revealed and eyes can see
the totality of being comes from every particles of my being.

My sweetest moments are when I am one with my essence.

O faqir, listen to what you will do:
put yourself above the cosmos and enjoy this existence,
nothing is more beautiful than you.

Set aside the otherness, understand the secrets.
Enter the arena and you will see the past and the present.

My sweetest moments are when I am one with my essence.

Roam in your thought and stroll about
for existence, all of it, is your garden.
If something is revealed to you, be happy.

Appearances are a delusion. Rise to the fore.
The signs are in you. To come near the King, diminish yourself.

My sweetest moments are when I am one with my essence.

Apply your intellect to what is rational.
The proof leads you to the proven.
You will see, the bearer is what is borne.

To say these (paradoxes) are a mistake, would be a mistake.
Poetry and Music allows me to speak (the mysteries) to the people.

My sweetest moments are when I am one with my essence.

Listen, o the most amazing of creation
Love the one you desire passionately and find enduring contentment.

You are the lover and the beloved.

The journey is to yourself and you are the meaning of the felicity.
There is nothing but you, O abode of essential poverty.

My sweetest moments are when I am one with my essence.
—Original Author in Arabic: Shaykh Abu al - Hasan al - Shushtari k.s. (1212 - 1269), English rendition: Zajal, Sadiq


Increase your doubtfulness, my friend.
Keep questioning all things.
Persist doubting everything.
Until all incertitude
Is wiped out and obliterated
Without a slightest trace
By the ever-present, mysterious,
Timeless and boundless

Once recognized doubtless
Self-evident truth
Whole, complete and all containing
Needs no further proof.
—Yosy A. Flug


Tired Of Speaking Sweetly

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That brings you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a "playful drunken mood"
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.
—Hafiz, from The Gift - versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky


The Showroom

Just as a doorman beckons to the passer-by
Inviting him to view the naked ladies,
As a showroom displays the latest models
And a piece of cheese leads the mouse to his certain death
So this glittering bait leads us to a momentary contentment.

Denial of the manifest existence is a further blasphemy
As blasphemous as a shotgun marriage to it.
The intricacy of thought patterns
Taken as real
Are ever more subtle.
Hook, line and sinker come to mind.

Where does the poor me fit into all this?
Where can the 'I' take a rest?
Whose theory or practice will provide liberation from attachment?

A small voice whispers the timeless message
"There is no way out,
There is no 'I'"
When the cupboard is completely bare
When even the dogs have given up sniffing around
A feast is laid.
—Tim Goulding


Have nothing

Nothing to attack
Nothing to achieve

Nothing to maintain
Nothing to forgive;

Nothing to expect
Nothing to believe.

No one to defend
And no cause to grieve

Living moment
What appears
—Yosy A. Flug


spirituality without humor
is like a corpse
without the life breath.
watch the skulls smile...
see: laughter
—Yosy A. Flug


I used to fear death. As a child I would wake in the middle of the night fearing I was on the verge of dying.
In the past few years this fear seems to have fallen away. Whether this is good or bad I am unsure.
What I do know with absolute certainty...
I experience a silence (for a lack of a better word) or an activator that has accompanied me for as long as my memory exists.
Beyond all the change of body, thoughts, emotions, this tingling silence seems to just take it all in... not effected in the least.
This is the same in you as it is in me.
This understanding brings me a peace.. a less serious view of relative life
This is for you as well.
Creating comic relief of all the great tragic plays of our existence
The things I thought were stable and real have no real substance...?and therefore no horror.
So with aging I remain ageless
With my many scattered worried thoughts
I remain silent
With all my fleeting emotions I remain a witness
With my body's death I remain the same.
—Tony Kainauskas


The one law

In spite of appearances,
In reality
The ocean of time, boundless,
Stretches in all directions.
Containing all seeming future,
Present and past.
All effects and causes too.
It rests, uninterrupted
United forever
In the eternal now.
What appears as
Causes and effects,
Ends and beginnings
Is really inseparable.
Therefore, regardless whatsoever
Everything returns to the source
Whence all originated.
And this, my precious
Is the one and only
Ruthless and unbreakable

Therefore, remember my dear:

In truth, whatever you appear to do
Whenever and wherever -
You do only
To you.
—Yosy A. Flug


We must become ignorant
Of all we've been taught,
And be, instead, bewildered.

Run from what's profitable and comfortable
If you drink those liqueurs, you'll spill
The spring waters of your real life.

Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

I have tried prudent planning
Long enough, from now
On, I'll live mad.

—Mevlana Rumi [Translation by Coleman Barks]



Everything comes to pass.
Holding on
To anything
Is loosing it already...
Clinging to life is death.
Time has no mercy, it
Waits for none. Know:
Certain end awaits
Whatever has a beginning!
The game is sold…. So
If you look for true security
Abandon safety of the known
And, forgetting self
Enter terra incognita
Dive deep into
The all-encompassing
—Yosy A. Flug


Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript of a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.
—Rumi [translation by Shahram Shiva]


This and that...

Anonymous passerby
Ragged long haired freak
Asking wordlessly for lunch leftovers
This snobby lady
Walking the poodle
Murderous terrorist
Cornered in an ambush
And that bunch of commandos closing
On a kill
Crawling distorted legless beggar
Haughty faced policeman
Transvestite whore
Selling her wares at the sea front
Smiling toothless vendor
All of them
Without exception
Each and every one
And you too
A perfect to the core
Of the one and only
All knowing
And merciful
Your own self.

There is none else.
There is no other.
—Yosy A. Flug


Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise
From outward things, whate'er you may believe.
There is an inmost centre in us all,
Where truth abides in fulness;

[...] and to KNOW
Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendour may escape,
Than in effecting entry for a light
Supposed to be without."
—Robert Browning, from "Paracelsus"


All sacred texts,
Are match-boxes.
Each true statement-
A single match stick.
No need to burn
The whole box of sticks
To start a bonfire.
Suffice to light one match
Striking it on the stone
Of direct experience.
Enough to follow and apply
But one instruction
Tended diligently
With loving care,
The fire that you light
Can easily burn and incinerate
All the world of illusion
To ashes.
—Yosy A. Flug


The Higher Pantheism

—Alfred Tennyson (1809 - 1892)

The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and the plains --
Are not these, O Soul, the Vision of Him who reigns?

Is not the Vision He? tho' He be not that which He seems?
Dreams are true while they last, and do we not live in dreams?

Earth, these solid stars, this weight of body and limb,
Are they not sign and symbol of thy division from Him?

Dark is the world to thee: thyself art the reason why;
For is He not all but thou, that hast power to feel 'I am I'?

Glory about thee, without thee; and thou fulfillest thy doom,
Making Him broken gleams, and a stifled splendour and gloom.

Speak to Him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet --
Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet.

God is law, say the wise; O Soul, and let us rejoice,
For if He thunder by law the thunder is yet His voice.

Law is God, say some: no God at all, says the fool;
For all we have power to see is a straight staff bent in a pool;

And the ear of man cannot hear, and the eye of man cannot see;
But if we could see and hear, this Vision-were it not He?


On the way to God the difficulties
feel like being ground by a millstone,
like night coming at noon, like
lightning through the clouds.

But don't worry!
What must come, comes.
Face everything with love,
as your mind dissolves in God.

—Lalla (translated by Coleman Barks)


Demystifying the mystical

The mystics
Use similes
To express
The divine love.

But me-for me
Love of god
Every experience
To the mystic heights!

My lover's body
Is the perfect
Divine temple.
No doubt.
Her skin -
A prayer
Most sublime.

And a kiss-oh, the kiss!
Kissing your
Beloved one
A most rewarding
Rapture of unity.

The secret book of books
Lies hidden
Between her thighs.

Are the one truth.
There is none else.
Always and forever!


What the devout
Divine love
Is but a simile
For this
God given
—Yosy A. Flug


Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
When you really look for me, you will see me
instantly -
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.
—Kabir, from The Kabir Book: Forty four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir, Versions by Robert Bly



I think, therefore I am mistaken.
thoughts, emotions come and go,
thoughts pass. change lasts...
but reality/god/truth/love
the omnipresent nameless
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 --
is merely
an ass!
—Yosy A. Flug



—Rainer Maria Rilke

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning "no."

And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.

We're all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It's in them all.

And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.

—Translated by Robert Bly


the farthest we can get, friends,
sparring no efforts,
exerting our will to the utmost
traveling persistently
in whatever direction
within or without
is all the way up to
the all pervading, center-less self,
reposing ever
right here. right now.
—Yosy A. Flug


Logic is Mind's forte
a blunderbuss, a thug;
I am all Heart for you, sweet,
come near kiss me, hug!

Heart's logic is cosmic
simple and sincere;
It is a fountain of Love
Drink from it, my dear!
—Mazbut MazHur


A good word, a benevolent smile,
Aiding selflessly a total stranger
Is worth more then hundreds
Most elaborate rituals,
Prayers and blessings
—Yosy A. Flug


The Prophet

You are the prophet
You are the scriptures,
The wisdom and the way.
You are the Buddha, the teachings,
The source from which
Abundant Kindness springs.
You are the carefree life.
You are a nobody, a nothing,
With nowhere to go
Nothing to know.
Your greatest asset your helplessness
Your jewel a supreme carelessness.
Swept here and there
By the tides of the world
Blown hither and thither
By chaos and chance
You find no rest
Yet you are rest itself.
In this understanding
A mighty heart is set free
All things fit
Into this order of abandon.

—Tim Goulding


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