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Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated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 But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.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

Strategies/Distinctions For Life: Free the Ego, and You Are Free

�Seeing Through� the Ego�s Fantasy-Reality Gap

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

An excerpt from his forthcoming book
Awakening to Sanity: Being Sane in an Insane World
—A Traveler's Guide
 

“Water is wet, rocks are hard, the sky is blue, the grass is green, fires are hot, ice is cold, mountains are high and oceans are deep.”
—Adapted Zen saying

One of the ego's favorite “problems” is the fantasy—reality gap, in other words, a gap between what it dreams up that we should, have to, need to, want, wish and expect (the fantasy) and the feedback from “what is” (the reality). The attitudes of wanting what is fair in an often unfair world, and wanting to be free in an often unfree world, illustrate this gap. When ego wants what it doesn't have, or it doesn't want what it does have, suffering is inevitable. Spiritual teacher Ajahn Chah says, “If it shouldn't be this way, it wouldn't be this way.” Similarly, should didn't happen, and shouldn't already happened!

The second of Buddha's four noble truths says that suffering originates in desires or attachments. Translated into modern terms, suffering results from the desire that life be different from what it is now. Yet desires do not so much create the actual suffering as the compulsive holding on to and identification with desire do. A first step to peace lies in an easy, relaxed acceptance of “what is” here and now.

This “gap” presents a riddle since reality is, after all, just the way it is free of the mind's past conditioning. For instance, releasing the ego's urge to compare and evaluate itself with others fosters genuine inner peace. To release evaluating oneself against others helps to release the unrelenting search for happiness. Paradoxically, once we let go of the craving for unrelenting pleasures—what some call the “hedonic treadmill”—then honest contentment and happiness become a possibility. One can appreciate that true happiness is a by-product of fulfilling relationships, rewarding work well done, and contribution to the greater good. We can emerge from suffering once we fully see through the ego's fantasy—reality gap. Seeing through illusions opens an appreciation of “what is.”


George Demont Otis     Monterey Cyprus

All that is necessary to awaken to yourself as the radiant emptiness of spirit is to stop seeking something more or better or different, and to turn your attention inward to the awake silence that you are.
—Adyashanti

Happiness is likely to be “having what you want” leavened with gratitude. Rabbi Hyman Schachtel also wisely proposed, “Happiness is not having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.” When one wants what one has and one doesn't want what one doesn't have, the fantasy-reality gap closes and stillness, peace and sanity naturally reign. This is the springboard of our dearest yearnings, all to spearhead and manifest our heartfelt dreams and inspired visions. To live in truth takes practice, practice, practice…in surrender, surrender, surrender…every moment, moment, moment.

Browse excerpts from Dr. Friedman's forthcoming book
Awakening to Sanity: Being Sane in an Insane World—A Traveler's Guide
 
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
 
 


Home | Dedication/Orientation | Articles by Dr. Friedman | Video and Audio Clips | Annotated Resource Links | Psychology Professionals

Dr. Will’s Perspective on Practicing Psychology: Dr. Friedman's Practice | Dr. Friedman's Approach | Therapeutic Purposes | Credentials | Experience | Brochures | Interview | Events and Workshops | Website Disclaimer | Contact