Tag Archives: Michael Lipson

Why being able to think about a cat means we can change the world: consciousness, psychoanalysis, and spirituality on AEWCH 139 with Michael Lipson!

26 Jan

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Friends,
I sometimes think about the concept of world change, of political and economic change is getting ahead of ourselves. Why? Because we haven’t even begun to consider ourselves, consider what it means to be human, what thought is, what thinking is, and what consciousness is.
If we can’t hold a single thought, how can we create new structures for us to live in and dissolve the old?And it’s not helpful that everyone, from capitalists to communists to anarchists, generally think that questions of consciousness are fine to leap past and into creating theoretical abstractions to change the world.
Everything – everything – is tethered to the experience of thought and thinking.Don’t think so? Well, where did that thought come from? Have a theory about how thinking and thought is not the groundswell of existence? Well, where did that come from? Even the thought that consciousness is an illusion comes from thinking, of course. So there’s no way to get outside of thinking.
My idea has been: let’s start building from that, let’s get into the experience of consciousness and let our political, economic, and cultural work come from there.
I wanted to talk about this, and I wanted to talk about it early in this new year of incredible opportunity and trouble. So I asked therapist and author Michael Lipson on the show. Michael is the author of Stairway of Surprise: Six Steps to a Creative Life and Group Meditation. For nearly a decade, he worked with children with HIV and AIDS in New York City. Now he has his own practice and runs group meditation meetings each week via michaellipson.org.
We discuss so much on this episode, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • The way belief in materialism destroys freedom
  • Why solipsism is correct, but unrefined
  • Our everyday knowledge as an obstacle to seeing things as they are
  • Dissolving materialism is a spiritual path
  • That time I saw the pizza-being (Um, what?) – but don’t take my word for it!
  • The difference between spiritual substance and spiritual state
  • How to redeem the spiritual over Zoom
  • Why absorption matters
  • How psychoanalysis without spirituality necessitates law, and how its focus on childhood is a description of karma
  • The importance of contained nothingness
  • Certainties, bad and good
  • Creativity as the antidote to angry certainty
  • Psychotherapy in motion (literally)
  • Despair as a sign for hopefulness

SHOW NOTES

• Most of Michael’s work can be found on his website, including his short series of essays/meditation prompts on Simone Weil. And here’s Michael in conversation with author Allison Burnett is here.• The Nature Institute in New York state is where I managed to finally, permanently, alter my thinking from object-thinking to metamorphic-thinking.

The Work of Byron Katie changed my life, too.

• Emily Dickinson wrote, “A letter always feels to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. Indebted in our talk to attitude and accent, there seems a spectral power in thought that walks alone.” Here’s more on her letters.

• One of my first conversations at the top of the global crisis – and consequently, one of the first I did remotely – was with writer and theorist Mark O’Connell on AEWCH 105 about apocalypse, of course.

• A bit on Śūnyatā, or emptiness, in Buddhism.

• You can learn more about David Spangler’s work of incarnational spirituality and work with elemental beings via his organization, The Lorian Association.

• I talk about the problem of certainty in 2021 on AEWCH 136 and about nothingness on AEWCH 116 with Are Thoressen.

• “Who pours out like a spring, knowing knows him: and leads him delighted through the bright creation, that often ends with the start, and begins with the end.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

• Here’s Rudolf Steiner’s quote on faithfulness:“Let your loyalty to another human being come about in this way:  there will be moments — quickly passing by — when he will seem to you filled and illumined by the true, primal image of his spirit.
Then can come, yes, will come, long stretches of time when your fellow-being seems clouded, even darkened.  But learn at these times to say to yourself:  The spirit will strengthen me; I will remember the true, unchanging image that I once saw.  Nothing at all — neither deception nor disguise — can take it away from me.Struggle again and again for the true picture that you saw.  The struggle itself is your faithfulness.
And in those efforts to be faithful and to trust, a human being will come close to another as if with an angel’s power of protection.” (by the way, I had Duncan Trussell read this waaaay back on AEWCH 16!)

• Want another podcast to listen to? I love the The Fundamentalist Podcast, featuring Peter Rollins and Elliot Morgan from AEWCH 135!

Until next time, friends,
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