Coincidences aren't all fun and games. As psychiatrist and parapsychologist Jules Eisenbud was fond of reminding us, coincidences often reflect the aspects of our mental life that we are most anxious to hide. I discuss the usefulness of these "uncomfortable coincidences" in today's post on PsychologyToday.com.
In 1988, Claire Sylvia received the first heart-lung transplant performed in New England. In the days and weeks following her surgery, she realized that she had some strange new cravings. For one thing, she found herself “dying for a beer,” even though she’d never liked beer before. She also began to add green peppers to… Continue reading Can an Organ Transplant Alter Your Identity?
Choosing happiness and choosing circumstances of ease and comfort are two very different things. Challenge is essential to human happiness. It is, in large part, why we chose this life to begin with. Photo by Jörg Peter
My last post talked about longings that we can't quite explain and thus often disregard as irrational and unimportant. This post is about an excellent tool to help us recover those crucial, disregarded desires: a 30-day guided journal called Chasing Your Dream. It so happens that one of the dreams that runs in my family is the dream… Continue reading Chasing Your Dream
Julius Lester writes in his book Lovesong: Becoming a Jew that as a young black boy growing up in the American South his favorite piece to play on the piano was Kol Nidre, the song that opens the observance of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. "When I stop playing," he writes, "there is a painful yearning in my stomach,… Continue reading The boy who wanted to be a Jew
Perhaps you've read about this experiment from the 1980s: Subjects were told, "Linda is thirty-one years old, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations." Then they were asked to estimate which further statement… Continue reading You’re Not as Dumb as All That
What would it take for you to be content? For a long time, I thought all I needed was a loving husband, a warm home, a bunch of animals, and a publication with my name on it. Then the day came when I had all those things, and I found myself wanting more. More animals. Bigger… Continue reading Contentment Is a Good Place to Start
I don't care how many friends you have or how many heart-to-heart talks you manage with your loved ones, I think we all have moments when we feel alone. Moments when we're stuck inside an emotion that we don't see any possibility of sharing. Or when we're thinking thoughts we have no way to convey. These are… Continue reading On Feeling Alone
"You will learn that when the truth isn't pretty, expected, or delivered with a fair dose of charm, people will almost always put their faith in a lie." So reads one of many chilling lines in H.G. Beverly's recently released memoir The Other Side of Charm, about her unwitting marriage to a sociopath. Before her marriage to… Continue reading The Invisibility of Evil
Conventional psychological wisdom says that we avoid the things we fear. That avoidance is, in fact, one of the primary indications that fear is present. But what about those cases in which our fears actually push us into the arms of their objects? What about the boyfriend who is so afraid his girlfriend will leave… Continue reading Are We Attracted to the Things We Fear?