The bamboo paradox, a book of wisdom for success

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The Bamboo Paradox:

The limits of human flexibility in a cruel world – and how to protect, defend and strengthen yourself

Finding the Golden Mean that leads to strength and viable flexibility, in order to be happy, healthy and realistically successful

By Dr Jim Byrne.

With contributed chapters by Renata Taylor-Byrne

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The Institute for E-CENT Publications: 2020

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Preface

Waking up to a challenging reality

Dr-Jim-Byrne8 (2)At the age of thirty-four years, I woke up, for the first time.  I became aware of the fact that I was living a life that didn’t really work for me – which had never really worked in a remotely satisfactory way.

When I say it had never really worked, you might misunderstand, and think my life lacked excitement; but that is not what I mean at all.  I had lived and worked in Bangladesh and Thailand; been to college; been a radical politician; edited a political journal and an alternative newspaper; had three relationships with women; published two books and several significant reports; travelled across Europe on military service; and much more besides.  But none of this meant anything to me.  None of this had any real, emotional significance.

I woke up because I could not look inside myself and see anything worth considering.  I woke up because I found myself writing these words:

“The valley is empty now.

Nothing moves on the streets.

Except people;

Internal combustion cars;

Children,

And every kind of dog.

I always hate to see it this way,

Which is all the time!”

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A, Front cover-2I was depressed by the emptiness of my full life!

At that point, I began to seek wisdom – to examine my life – and to explore ideas about better ways of living a more meaningful, purposeful, more satisfying life.

Around this time, I came across Thoreau’s quotation which claims that: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation”.

That felt like a profound truth, but it does not help us to know what to do about it.

Perhaps you can relate to this situation.

Perhaps your own life does not really work for you, in a fully satisfactory way.

And perhaps it’s time to find out why; and what you could do about it.

In this book, I want to share some of the fruits of waking up, and taking responsibility for the direction of my life.  What I will tell you about is my journey – shared with my wonderful wife, Renata Taylor-Byrne (who I hardly knew at the point at which I woke up).  This was a journey towards wisdom and happiness; physical and mental health; and emotional well-being.

Of course, I had little idea what ‘wisdom’ meant at that time.  I knew the word.  Perhaps my thoughts about wisdom went something like this, at that time:

Wisdom may be assumed to be about distinguishing fact from fantasy; though I know how difficult that can be. It should be about being realistic, or practical and logical about life and what it is possible to gain from living well. But it also probably entails knowing where to look, and how to value what we see.  (At the age of 34 years I had limited capacity to do any of this).

I also sensed that I had often been foolish in the things I’d said and done; the things I got involved in; and the people I’d allowed to influence me.

I was not good at accepting myself as I was; and often criticized myself for my apparent failings; especially in failing to make enough money for a comfortable life; or to have a group of friends.  But I was good at keeping calm.  Perhaps, sometimes, I was calm when I should have been angry; but I was often afraid to be angry.

B, Back cover-2I was aware of the inner conflict in all humans between the desire to be a good, moral individual, and the desire for the fruits of evil (which involve harming others).  And I had mainly been able to avoid my evil or immoral urges.

I did not have a developed capacity to laugh and have fun; and I over-worked (because, as I discovered very much later, I am ‘a Responsible Workaholic’)[1].  I was overly serious; too upset about the mad, unequal world into which I’d been thrown at birth.

And I was not good at feeling grateful for what I actually had in my life; and the many exotic journeys I’d been on.

I was aware of the value of being ‘gentlemanly’ or polite in my dealings with others, to facilitate the smooth running of social encounters. But I was not self-assertive enough.

I was aware of my limitations as a human and a man; but I had not yet reached the stage of being able to accept my inefficiencies and ineffective behaviours; or my poor general judgements.

I was not good at forgiving others for their unavoidable foolishness; though I was often inappropriately critical of others for their fallible humanness.

I did not often engage in foolish anger; but I did not recognize that I was entitled to take up a full square on the chessboard of life.  I tended to live in the cracks between the lives of others.

I had been raised to be very stoical; to ‘carry my (Catholic) cross willingly’; to ‘turn the other cheek’ to insults and injury; to ‘roll with the punches’; to ignore the ‘arrows of adversity’; and so on.

I had mismanaged my first marriage; and did not (during that six year marriage) wake up to the fact that I had no idea how to have a happy relationship – mainly because I came from a family in which my mother and father had an arranged marriage; and they never learned to love each other; and their only love for their children was one driven by duty, and not affection. (Of course, it took years for me to understand this aspect of my start point in life!)

~~~

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~~~

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~~~

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This is my ‘progress report’ – my book about how to take care of yourself in a difficult world; so you can be happy and healthy, successful and (relatively, realistically) wealthy.

Your physical height, weight, muscle bulk and so on, are not the most important determinants of your ability to be strong in the face of life’s difficult challenges.

And neither is your IQ, or your academic credentials.

But it is also a book that warns against assuming you are stronger than you could possibly be, given that you are a human being, with a fleshy body, and limited immunity to stress and disease.

The foundation of your resilience

In many ways, your ephemeral mind – supported by a well-rested and nourished body – and a determination to be happy and successful – is the best measure of your potential for resilient coping with the unavoidably stressful challenges you inevitably will face.  But you also need to learn how to love, and to have nourishing social connections. Physical strength and mental stamina alone will not help here. And neither will IQ, academic qualifications or innate cunning!

So what will help?

Today we are bombarded by lots of (good and bad) ideas about ‘how to make it in life’. One of these, which needs to be looked at more closely, is the metaphor which says we should learn to be like a bamboo plant – supple, pliable, and adapting to the high winds of adversity.

A, Front cover-2Here are a couple of examples of advice to emulate the bamboo, found on the Internet:

Being like bamboo means coming closer to the ancient wisdom of nature itself. It’s understanding that taking care of your soul requires time and patience. In addition, it’s knowing that it doesn’t matter how strong the wind blows or how rough the storm is because you’ve already learned to be flexible and, above all, resilient.[2]

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Bend but don’t break. Be flexible yet firmly rooted
One of the most impressive things about the bamboo in the forest is how they sway with even the slightest breeze. … A bend-but-don’t-break or go-with-the-natural-flow attitude is one of the secrets for success whether we’re talking about bamboo trees, (or humans – Ed.) answering tough questions in a Q&A session, or just dealing with the everyday vagaries[1] of life.[3]

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Are these wise comments? Is this wise advice – to aim to be more like a bamboo, no matter how strong the wind blows?

Nobody could deny that the humble bamboo is often the thinnest plant in the forest or jungle when a tropical storm hits; but it is often the only plant left standing when the storm is over.

According to our common ‘received wisdom’, if you develop some bamboo-like flexibility, you can become as strong and resilient as you need to be, even if you are thin and light and less tall than the average person.

This is how the qualities of bamboo are conceptualized by one business-person:

“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance.  It suggests resilience, meaning that even in the most difficult times… your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances.  Like putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly”. (Ping Fu: ‘Bend, Not Break: A life in two worlds’).

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~~~

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~~~

Being like a bamboo

B, Back cover-2I will take a closer look at that quotation later.  In the meantime, I want to address its implications, taking it at face value. Ping Fu seems to suggest that you can learn to bend in strong winds of change or challenge; and to sway in the frequent breezes of trial and tribulation. You can develop a solid foundation, but one which allows you to stay flexible, and to respond to the forces that assail you with a judo-like yielding and returning. Bend in harmony with the forces around you, without resisting rigidly, and thus avoid being broken.  Go with the flow, when the flow is irresistible; but swim against the tide if you need to, when the tide is not too powerful. Eventually, the forces around you may grow tired, and you will be fresh and ready to move forward, when resistance is at its lowest.

Bruce Lee is on record as supporting this kind of perspective:

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked” he wrote, “while the bamboo … survives by bending with the wind”.

And, beyond what those commentators have said, common sense seems to suggest that, to be like the bamboo, you must not just be well informed about how to use your mind – like an ancient philosopher – but also you must be well fed, well rested, happily related to at least one significant other person; and rooted in some kind of family, social group and/or community.  You need to be involved and rooted in your home community, but free to take whatever individual action you need to take, so long as it is moral and legal.

This may be what Jodi Picoult had in mind when she wrote that, “The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance”.

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A flawed metaphor

Of course there are flaws in each of those quotations above – limitations and exaggerations – (which would eventually lead us into paradox, or self-contradicting beliefs and actions. I will explore some aspects of that paradox in this Preface; and return to this problem in Chapter 17)[2].

But the common sense argument seems to be that we should celebrate the near perfect combination of strength and flexibility to be found in bamboo, and that therefore we should try to emulate that strength and flexibility in our own difficult lives – when appropriate – as individual human beings.

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The first major limitation of comparing ourselves with bamboo is this: In western science, the world is divided into three major classes: animal, vegetable and mineral. Clearly, bamboo belongs to one of those classes (the vegetables) while humans belong to another (the animals).

Bamboo is rooted to the spot, while humans, and other animals, move around the world.

To build a bridge from the vegetable world of bamboo, to the animal world of human individuals, let me introduce a transitional entity – a little duck in an endless sea.

Donald C. Babcock has written about a little duck – “something pretty special” – which is out on the ocean; cuddling down in the swells; and riding the waves.  Out beyond the surf by one hundred feet[4].

The Atlantic is heaving mightily, producing huge rises and falls; and the little duck is part of that rise and fall.

Indeed, the duck is resting while the Atlantic does all the heaving.

Babcock considers that the duck has some physical sense or realization of the size of the ocean which is surging up beneath him, and then dropping him down again, many feet each time.

“… the duck reposes in the immediate, as if it were infinity – which (of course) it is”, writes Babcock.

Babcock sees this as a profoundly wise attitude on the part of the duck; and he questions whether or not you and I, humans, have as much wisdom in dealing with the great waves that threaten to buffet our own lives!

This little duck is meant to illustrate the ‘bamboo qualities’ of a little animal.  It is meant to illustrate harmony and balance, as well as strength and flexibility – and a certain amount of detachment from unreasonable levels of fear (which bamboo never feels!).

~~~

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~~~

Humans and bamboo plants

A, Front cover-2But next, we have to make the final migration from bamboo, via the little duck, to a real human individual.  To do that, I would like to present a little case study:

About fifteen years ago, I (as a counsellor) was contacted via the telephone system by a young man (let us call him Shami – not his real name!). Shami was an Indian man, working in the US as an IT specialist; and phoning from New York City.  He was involved in a relationship with an American woman, and it was not going well; so he wanted couples therapy from me.   Shami had been born in India.  His parents were well-educated and relatively wealthy.  He father was a hospital doctor in Mumbai (not the real location!), where the family lived; and his mother was a research scientist who specialized in the biochemistry of common diseases for a pharmaceutical company.

My initial response was to try to get Shami to work on his beliefs and attitudes towards women in general, and his partner in particular.  This seemed to be somewhat helpful, but after three sessions he disappeared.

Months later, he contacted me again. This time his partner had left him, and so I helped him to cope with the grief of losing her; and his shame about not being able to hold down a stable relationship.

Then he disappeared again, for a couple of years.  When next he contacted me, he had a new girlfriend, and they were dating a couple of nights per week. They’d met a couple of months back, but already conflict had emerged in their relationship.  I tried to dig a bit deeper into Shami’s background, to see what was driving his inability to get along with a female partner.

Shami had had an unhappy childhood, because his parents were always working; and he was raised by a nanny and fed by a maid.  He hated his father with a vengeance, and he was cold towards his (cold) mother.

This new dating relationship was the fifth or sixth unsuccessful relationship he’d been in, since arriving in America, about eight years earlier.  I began to explore his relationship problems more deeply, and traced his problems back to how his mother and father related to each other: which was to say, badly.  And also how his mother in particular related to him (coldly).  His father had been even more absent (and remote) than his mother.

When Shami was about eighteen years old, he’d decided to study in America, and after graduating, he got a job as a computer programmer.  He was what I now know to be ‘a Responsible Workaholic’ – which is a variety of ‘personality adaptation’[5] – and he tended to sit at his computer, in his New York employer’s office,  from seven o’clock each morning until seven o’clock each evening, wrestling with difficult programming problems.

B, Back cover-2He popped out of his office and had a burger for lunch; and again for his evening meal, around five o’clock.  He worked six days a week, and spent most of Sunday in bed.

He never did any physical exercise; got less than six hours sleep each night, and sometimes a lot less; drank too much alcohol and coffee; and generally was living a very unbalanced life.

I suggested that he clean up his diet, since his junk food diet was making him angry with his female partner. (See Taylor-Byrne and Byrne, 2017)[6].  But he said he’d have to walk six blocks to find any outlet that sold salad or other healthy options; and we wasn’t able to spare the time and energy for such a ‘long walk’. And, besides, he like burgers, and did not see that diet was a real contributor to his relationship problems.

I tried to get him to do some regular physical exercise, which would reduce his anxiety and jealousy, which seemed to be driving much of his couple-conflict, but he could not be persuaded that it was important to do so.

Shami then disappeared again, and I didn’t hear from him for another couple of years.

The next time I heard from him, he had been medically evacuated from New York to Mumbai; was living in his parent’s pool house, at the bottom of their garden; and sleeping sixteen hours every day.  He had been diagnosed with ME and chronic fatigue syndrome; and with painful myalgia in his neck and right shoulder, which reduced him to tears when it was at its worst.  Pain-killing medication only reduced the pain to a small degree.

His parents – a medical doctor and a medical scientist – had failed to find any way to help him.  So he phoned me once more.

I tried to help him to get to the bottom of his problems, by focusing on his sedentary lifestyle; his very poor diet; his inadequate amount of regular nightly sleep; and his apparent inability to relax.  Plus his childhood relationships with his parents: especially his murderous anger towards his father.

But he didn’t want me to play that role.  He wanted me simply to help him with his mental attitude towards his problems, rather than helping him to cure his problems. He wanted me to help him to be even more Stoical than he currently was. This caused a falling out between is, because I did not enjoy being used like a verbal or philosophical sticking-plaster. (Some years after I last worked with Shami, I stumbled across the system of Personality Adaptations, refined by Joines and Stewart [2002].  In this system of personality analysis, there are three main ‘performing adaptations’ – which are adaptations to parents made in early childhood, in order to make it with the parents.  One of those personality adaptations is called the ‘Responsible Workaholic’; and individuals with this adaptation tend to behave in a perfectionistic manner; which is perhaps what Shami was trying to do in his work role.  They often have problems in their couple relationships, because they apply their perfectionistic standards to their partner, and this causes lots of conflict.  So perhaps Shami would have overworked, even if the system of capitalism in which he was working was more benign!?!)

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~~~

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~~~

Questionable philosophies of life

Shami was a good illustration of what is wrong with some aspects of the three quotes presented above about bamboo.  Let me illustrate what I mean:

Jodi Picoult’s quote refers to “the human capacity for burden” – and that can be taken to extremes, which is what Shami did.  The human capacity to tolerate burdens should never be taken to extremes.  We need to find the middle way between under-working and over-working.  (There are, of course, exploitative forces in the world today which would like to persuade you that over-working is impossible!  My response to that lie is this: “Look at the damage Shami did to himself by overworking!” [But also watch out for your own perfectionist work standards, which may be driven by childhood adaptations to your parents!])

Bruce Lee’s quote seems to be beyond reproach.  However, note the phrase “bending with the wind”.  It is important to bend with the wind – some but not all of the time.  If you, as a human being, encounter a ‘wind’ that is too strong to be easily or healthily endured, then you have a responsibility to get out of that wind – to get the hell out of any such excessive wind! This is the beginning of awareness of the bamboo paradox.  You can try to take flexibility too far, but your body may well break if your mind does not spot the unendurable nature of some of your new burdens!

Many years ago, Charles Handy pointed to the problem of staying in stressful situations for too long, until we become ‘cooked’, or broken, mentally and/or physically, by stress and strain. He used the analogy of a frog and boiling water.  If you place a frog in a pan of cold water, or lukewarm water, it will happily stay there; whereas if the temperature is too high when you drop it in, it will jump out immediately.  On the other hand, if you place it in a pan of cool water, and then heat that water slowly, the frog will stay in the pan until it is cooked to death!  Beware this frog-like capacity to allow yourself to be cooked to death by stress and strain!  While you think you are acting like a bamboo, you may, in fact, be acting like a dumb frog!

A, Front cover-2Ping Fu’s quote contains three contentious points, from my perspective:

Number 1: The idea that bamboo – and by extension – human beings, are “…capable of adapting to any circumstance”. This is not true.  It is obviously not true of a human, because it did not work for Shami, who is undoubtedly a human.  It is not true for a human, because there are legions of burned out teachers spewed out by the education system in the UK (and probably many other countries also; and many other professions, like medicine!).  It is not even true of bamboo.  If you pour petrol (petroleum gas) over a bamboo tree, and ignite it, the tree will be destroyed.  If you pour nitric acid around its roots, you will destroy it!  Humans should not try to adapt to “any and every circumstance”.  Shami should have had more sense. He should have listened to the Hawaiian concept of ‘pono’, or balance!  He wrecked his health by failing to achieve balance in his life.

When I teach the concept of pono to my clients, I always emphasize that they should seek to base their daily life on 8 hours of work; 8 hours rest; and 8 hours of play, except sometimes.  Eight hours in bed each night, in a dark, cool room, with no TVs or computers or mobile phones.  And lots of time spent with friends, family, and others, enjoying social connection.

Number 2: Ping Fu asserts that resilience means “…the ability to bounce back even in the most difficult times.”  But if you look up a definition of resilience in a popular dictionary, you might get a subtly different meaning, such as this: “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”  There is clearly a distinction to be made between Ping Fu’s statement (“even in the most difficult times”); and my dictionary’s definition (of the capacity to recover quickly “from difficulties”).  And a definition that I found online cited two examples of resilient entities:

(a) “…the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions“. And:

(b) ‘Nylon’.

But please note, with regard to example (a) above, the two qualifiers in italic typeface: ‘often’, and ‘so many’.  This means that it is not the case that all British institutions can always be resilient enough to survive in all situations. And similarly, you should not expect to always be resilient enough to survive in all the situations that the world may impose upon you. Sometimes you have to beat a sensible retreat!  But Ping Fu does not understand these qualifiers, as she implies that we humans have the ability to bounce back “even in the most difficult circumstances”, without exception.  But exceptions have to be acknowledged.  What Ping Fu should have said is this: “…we humans (often) have the ability to bounce back, even in (very many of) the most difficult circumstances”. Remember the exceptions.  Remember Shami!  Remember the boiled frog!

B, Back cover-2 And then we need to look at example (b) above – nylon.  Nylon will not bounce back from being burned, or dropped into a vat of acid.  And human beings will not bounce back from six days a week of sitting on their arses in front of computer screens; and/or eating junk food on a frequent or regular basis; and/or getting insufficient sleep on a regular or frequent basis!  And/or being involved in seriously conflicted sex-love relationships. Those kinds of lifestyle factors will wreck their health and happiness.

Number 3: Ping Fu is wrong to assert that “…your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances”.

This is an expression of the kind of Extreme Stoical philosophy of life which asserts that “people are not upset by what happens to them, but rather by the attitude they adopt towards what happens to them”.

I will show in a later chapter of this book – where I critique extreme Stoicism – that this is a baseless claim.  People are upset by what happens to them; and your ability to thrive depends, ultimately, on how well rested you are, on a regular basis; how well-nourished you are by a healthy diet; how well your body is exercised; and how well connected you are to other people; how balanced your life is; how aware you are of the boiled frog phenomenon; in addition to your attitude towards what happens to you; and so on.  It is not all in the mind; and it is not all about attitude.  Attitude is important, but so also is the health of the body; and the point of balance of a multitude of lifestyle factors.

~~~

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~~~

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~~~

Defending yourself against ‘bamboo bullshit’

We live in a world in which there are dark forces that wish us to forget that we are fleshy bodies, with physical and mental needs; and physical and mental limitations; and not mere cogs in the wheels of somebody else’s financial or technological empire.

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) has played into this narrative, and given it philosophical support, by promoting a form of Extreme Stoicism in the name of therapy and wisdom, which it patently is not. (General Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [CBT] also supports this agenda, but to a lesser degree, or in a less obvious way!)

Before Shami had originally contacted me, he had seen an REBT therapist for couples-therapy; and he’d read a few REBT books, by Dr Albert Ellis; and he was strongly committed to being an REBT ‘tough guy’! His therapist, and Albert Ellis’s books, had taught him to “…stay in uncomfortable situations until you become comfortable with them, and then decide whether or not to leave!” But this was disastrous advice for Shami, which cost him his health, happiness and his very future as an active human being in the social world.

Although I was strongly influence by Albert Ellis’s system of REBT, I did not advise my couple-clients to “stay in uncomfortable situations”.  I told them that my priority was the happiness of both partners, and not the maintenance of the relationship.  And, as it happened, my very first client as an REBT coach/counsellor was a forty-five year old man who was on permanent night-shift work in a textile factory.  I knew this was bad for his health, and so I helped him to negotiate a way off nights and onto the day shift: (rather than trying to teach him to get rid of his so-called ‘irrational beliefs’ about night-shift working – which is the REBT approach).  I also helped him to negotiate a better wage and conditions with his employers; and I tried my best to help him and his partner to improve their relationship (without putting the continuance of the relationship above the happiness of both partners!)

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Albert Ellis’s philosophy of life was defective in many ways. (See my critique of REBT)[7]. But one of the worst elements turned out to be his approach to what he called ‘high frustration tolerance’ – which I would now call ‘resilience’ in the face of difficulties.

Ellis’s solution was to adopt this belief: “I certainly can stand it!”  And “it” could be anything (meaning everything), up to, but not including, one’s own death!

(But Shami demonstrated that we humans cannot stand everything, up to, but not including, our own death!)

And the unaddressed questions in Ellis’s Extreme Stoical philosophy of life are these:

  1. “Is it safe to try to stand it, or to go on enduring it?”
  2. “Is it sensible to try to stand it?”
  3. “Do I have to stand it, or could I get out?” And:
  4. “Should I stay, or should I get out?”

It was not safe for Shami to stay in his rotten job!

It was not sensible for Shami to stay in his oppressive employment!

He did not have to stand it, since he could have got into something less oppressive (at least in theory)!

And, with the benefit of hindsight, he must be able to see that he should have got out when he could!

 ~~~

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~~~

About this book

A, Front cover-2In this book, I will review the research that we have done on the limits of human endurance, and the determinants of that endurance, as well as our philosophy of life, which will help you to optimize your strength and flexibility, while at the same time taking care of your health and happiness.

I will look at effective approaches and ineffective approaches to:

– diet,

– exercise,

– sleep,

– relaxation,

– and philosophies of life.

I will teach you the middle way between extremes in all five of those areas of lifestyle self-management

Initially, I will introduce some key concepts and skills from moderate Stoic philosophy. This is intended to help you to know how to be ‘reasonably flexible’, as opposed to being ‘unrealistically flexible’.

Then I will outline some of the ways in which you could get fooled by some of the extreme elements of Stoicism, and/or Buddhism, which are reminiscent of some of the errors in the three quotations about bamboo, shown above.

(That is to say, Extreme Stoicism encourages its adherents to behave as if they were blocks of wood, which cannot be hurt or harmed by anybody or anything.  But Shami and the boiled frogs of this world demonstrate that that is not achievable.  Even Albert Ellis failed to operate like an indifferent block of wood when he was dismissed by his Institute in 2004/2005).

B, Back cover-2 Then I will outline my own Nine Windows model, which shows nine ways of reframing adversities, so that you can remain calm and centred and grounded in many of the difficult situations that you will most likely face in the future. These nine windows are strongly influenced by moderate ideas from Stoicism and Buddhism.

I will also summarize your needs for the right kind of nutrition, and effective approaches to sleep, exercise and relaxation.

And then I will return to the human-bamboo paradox, and link it to western stress management research.

Without this kind of information, how can you hope to achieve balance (pono) in your life?

 And without this information, you may well fall foul of the bamboo paradox, and end your life like Shami – broken, bedridden and weighed down by physical pain and emotional gloom, because of trying to be too flexible in a madly cruel world!

~~~

Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, Hebden Bridge,

March 2020

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~~~

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~~~

Contents

Preface…………………………………………………………………………………. iii

Part 1: An introduction to Moderate Stoicism:……………………………. 1

Or how to create a flexible mind………………………………………………. 1

Chapter 1: Learning how to be more philosophical about life’s difficulties  3

Chapter 2: William Irvine’s account of Stoicism………………………… 11

Chapter 3: Some additional Stoic attitudes……………………………….. 25

Chapter 4: Is there a problem with Hedonic Adaptation and Negative Visualization?          31

Chapter 5: The Stoic perspective on anger……………………………….. 37

Chapter 6: Managing grief……………………………………………………… 51

Chapter 7: Stoicism and Happiness/Unhappiness………………………. 57

Chapter 8: Quick review…………………………………………………………. 59

Part 2: The Problem of Extreme Stoicism…………………………………. 63

Chapter 9: My critique of extreme Stoicism……………………………… 65

Chapter 10: Some more problems with Buddhism & Stoicism…….. 85

Part 3: How to Re-frame Your Problems:…………………………………. 93

The Nine Windows Model of E-CENT theory……………………………… 93

Chapter 11: My Nine Windows Model – Or nine ways to re-frame your problems  95

Part 4: Developing a Resilient Body-Brain-Mind –…………………… 103

The body angle……………………………………………………………………. 103

Chapter 12: The importance of sleep……………………………………… 105

Chapter 13: The importance of diet and nutrition……………………. 127

Chapter 14: The importance of physical exercise…………………….. 141

Chapter 15: The importance of progressive muscle relaxation…. 153

Chapter 16: Developing self-management skills……………………… 175

Part 5: Conclusion………………………………………………………………… 185

Chapter 17: Unravelling the Human-Bamboo Paradox…………….. 187

Chapter 18: Conclusion…………………………………………………………. 209

References………………………………………………………………………….. 211

Appendix A: Zen Tigers and Strawberry Moments…………………… 223

Appendix B: What is meditation, and how can you do it?…………. 231

Appendix C: How to change your habits………………………………….. 237

Endnotes…………………………………………………………………………….. 261

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[1] Definition of vagary: an erratic, unpredictable, or extravagant manifestation, action, or notion. Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vagary

[2] The term paradox is from the Greek word paradoxon, which means “contrary to expectations, existing belief, or perceived opinion.”

[1] Joines, V. and Stewart, I. (2002) Personality Adaptations: A new guide to human understanding in psychotherapy and counselling.  Nottingham: Lifespace Publishing.

[2] Source: https://exploringyourmind.com/be-like-bamboo-patient-strong-flexible/

[3] Source: https://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2010/07/be-like-the-bamboo-trees-lessons-from-the-japanese-forest.html

[4] Babcock, D.C (2003) ‘The little duck’. Quoted in Josh Baran (ed) 365 Nirvana Here and Now: Living every moment in enlightenment. London: Element. Page 157.

[5] Joines, V. and Stewart, I. (2002) Personality Adaptations: A new guide to human understanding in psychotherapy and counselling.  Nottingham: Lifespace Publishing.

[6] Taylor-Byrne, R.E. and Byrne, J.W. (2017) How to control your anger, anxiety and depression, using nutrition and physical activity.  Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

[7] Byrne, J. (2019a) A Major Critique of REBT: Revealing the many errors in the foundations of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy. Hebden Bridge: The Institute for E-CENT Publications.

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E-CENT logo 2 no linePublished by E-CENT Institute Publications, in cooperation with KDP/Amazon:

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Distributed by the ABC Bookstore Online UK, and Amazon outlets worldwide:

cropped-abc-bookstore-maximal-charles-2019-1.jpgJim Byrne,

Doctor of Counselling,

Hebden Bridge,

March 2020

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