Last Week on Inked Brownies

Guest Post by Author and Psychotherapist Stanley Siegel


I’ve always been interested in the fascinating world of psychology, and more recently, in the practice of mindfulness as well. That’s why I’m presenting you with this special guest post today to talk about mindful thinking, and to celebrate the release of Stanley’s new book. I love to learn through stories, so I’m definitely intrigued! – Anne

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Conscious Writing: The Mindfulness of the Unseen in Parables

by Stanley Siegel

Life is full of mysteries, many of them emanating from what we, as humans, are incapable of seeing.

I watch my dog Max survey the world with his nose as we take our long walks around the Pearl District in Portland, Oregon. A few blocks from our home, he finds his favorite wall to sniff, where he will spend as much time as I will allow him. I’ve come to see the wall as “Doggy Facebook”. It seems every dog in town pees on it, leaving their scent with its encoded biography of the dog’s life. I stand patiently as Max “reads” everyone’s contribution to the wall, applying his heightened sense of smell to make discoveries not visible to me by my limited sense.

It is by much the same method that I read and interpret parables*. I “sniff” the story out, at first, relying on logic to make sense of it at the rational level. I am as focused as Max, parsing the details of the narrative. But my logical mind can only take me so far. When it fails to comprehend a story’s paradoxes, the intuitive mind I’ve cultivated after 40 years of practice as a psychotherapist takes over the job. My thoughts turn inward, sifting through all my relevant knowledge and experience. Like a search engine, I dig deep into my unconscious, accessing its database of archived stories that share similar themes. I compare the unassembled metaphors, symbols, and prescriptions expressed in the subtext of the parable with those in these other narratives.

Armed with this information, I stretch out on my living room couch, close my eyes and engage in the process of focused visualization before I write a single word. Parables have archetypal themes that transcend culture and time. Ancient, present and future conflate in an Einsteinian moment. Like Max, I use my sixth sense as I tap into what Carl Jung called the “Collective Unconscious,” my mind and spirit aligned, body at rest, I am at one with the universe. Interpretations flow to me in this state of relaxation.

Returning to the rational world, I construct exercises based on the most meaningful interpretation of those stories, bringing the lessons of each parable to life in a practical way based on strategies I learned as a psychotherapist and from my personal experiences with self-improvement. The practice of reading parables will change your mind and, subsequently, your life, perhaps even without your awareness. They will bypass the logic of your rational mind sinking deep into your unconscious. Like the wind, they sweep across the river of negativity, with enough power to change the direction of its current, giving you a new direction for life. The exercises, if followed, will further repoint your behavior. Together these processes realign body, mind and spirit and allow for greater well-being.

This is the exact process I used in my new book, The Secret Wisdom of Ancient Parables: Living Life Positively, which was published today and is currently available on Amazon here. For years, I collected parables whenever I was told one or came across them in texts. In this first collection, I’ve chosen a dozen from different traditions and organized them around their life lessons, such as self-acceptance, how to stop negative thinking, learning to let go, finding gratitude and much more. Each parable is accompanied by an illustration especially created to visualize the lesson. And each has a commentary and exercises to help readers achieve the lesson in their own life. I encourage you to carefully read each parable yourself to see what hidden details buried deep within each story you can unearth.

Cover small

Stanley’s book is set to $2.99 only for the first week of the book’s release and will increase to $4.99 after next Saturday.


About the Author

Stanley Siegel is a psychotherapist, author, lecturer, and former Director of Education and Senior Faculty member of New York’s renowned Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy. With nearly 40 years of experience in the field of psychology, Stanley has developed a bold and unconventional approach to psychotherapy that has led to his previous book, Your Brain on Sex: How Smarter Sex Can Change Your Life. Stanley has taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Adelphi University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Additionally, he was the founding director of the Family Studies Center in Huntington, NY, and has served as a consultant to hospitals and mental health centers throughout the country.

The creator and writer of the “Families” column for Newsday, Stanley also co-authored two popular books: The Patient Who Cured His Therapist and Other Unconventional Stories of Therapy, and Uncharted Lives: Understanding the Life Passages of Gay Men, both of which have been translated into 6 languages. His books serve as the basis for workshops around the country. Stanley has served as the review editor for two professional marital therapy journals, and his work with couples and families is the subject of two educational videos.

Stanley’s lifelong interest in art has included a period during the mid-1990s as the Dance Editor for Showbusiness, in which he reviewed and reported on the dance scene in New York City. Stanley created the popular sex column Intelligent Lust for Psychology Today magazine, which is now featured in Psychology Tomorrow Magazine, for which he is Editor-in-Chief. It also appears regularly throughout the Middle East in the FitNStyle magazine.

stanley siegel


* Note from Anne: If you are, like me, a non-native English speaker and have no clue as to what a parable is: A parable is a simple story used to illustrate moral/spiritual lessons or principles featuring human characters.  If you already knew this: jeez, I need to upgrade my English vocabulary!

About Anne (231 Articles)
Dutch book reviewer who reviews in English. Grammar nazis beware!! I like brownies. And chamomile tea.

12 Comments on Guest Post by Author and Psychotherapist Stanley Siegel

  1. I love how this post and the method is put across by the example of Max and his ‘Facebook wall’ 🙂

    This–> “Like a search engine, I dig deep into my unconscious, accessing its database of archived stories that share similar themes.”- is cool… I am writing a ton of short stories and recently was rather annoyed with myself because I kept digging into personal experiences/events. I wish i could come up with more stuff rather than use what has happened in my life… maybe I shouldn’t be such a square…

    Definitely interesting though and the book itself seems interesting as well! Will you be reading/reviewing it?

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s exactly what piqued my interest as well!

      Dude, you should be proud of yourself that you have the ability to do so! 🙂 I think a lot of writers dig from their personal experience well. Or dreams and nightmares! I’m too lazy to write stuff down, but oh golly Miss Molly, the things your sub-conscience can come up with 😀

      It does, doesn’t it? I discovered (after putting up this post) that I also received a review copy of the book, flipped through the pages and I must say, it looks rather nice, so yes, I will be reading/reviewing it within the next couple of months :). There are cute colourful illustrations with the stories, meditation exercises and helpful comments obviously!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I agree, the tricks and movie our subconscious can produce is amazing! Scary at times, but amazing 🙂
        Ha, yes, I had a feeling from the guest post that the book was going to be made nicely visual and kind of like “self help for dummies” .. and i don’t mean it in a bad way… if there’s humor and other parallel examples such as the one he used with Max the Dog, then that’s mighty!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wanted to tell you I am thinking of you and your family, Anne — and then I find the gift of this post today. A wonderful discovery! Thanks so very much. Am sharing on several media.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. bookheathen // 21/06/2016 at 20:06 // Reply

    Really interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. katelynnhillier // 24/06/2016 at 00:55 // Reply

    I’ve recently found the art of mindfullness as well, so this was a treat. I’m incredibly excited to read The Secret Wisdom of Ancient Parables (which I just bought) and look forward to combining the teachings from this with my slowly growing collection of other resources.
    Thanks, Stanley and Anne! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wh000t! That’s awesome! ❤ I like how it’s about getting in touch with yourself better without all that mumbo jumbo spiritual shit. And focusing on your breathing while basically being told that it doesn’t matter how you breath. You can breath to the beat of Stayin Alive and it’s still OKAY. But yes! waves with virtual review copy 😀 Coolness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • katelynnhillier // 24/06/2016 at 17:50 // Reply

        I don’t know why but instead of reading “Stayin Alive” I read “Satan” and was confused because you just waved off the spiritual stuff and I was wondering where you filed “Satan” under until I realized song ≠ Hell’s Chieftain.
        But I agree! There’s also been a lot of connection between Mindfulness and Minimalism. I have more issues with Minimalism because it’s about keeping things simple and clean and not having clutter, but I just have books and THEY’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE so I’ve started ditching craft supplies I haven’t used since High School.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. LOL! Maybe it was this /:#< which triggered it. But \m/
    I like how the first thing I see on that site is Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads.. So you’re just going to buy books to read during 1 weekend? And then what? Throw them away again?? But applauds for throwing craft supplies out! Getting rid of clutter is something I have severe issues with as well. Take this 10kg block of clay that’s taking up space in my living room for 8 years now…every summer I go through this process of pricking holes in it and filling those with water every day, so the clay will become less dry and I can start sculpturing?! Last time I actually sculptured something was like 10 years ago and it was a penis because I was hammered at the time and wanted to do something ‘creative’ :’). I still have pics of it somewhere XD. But er, yes, craft supplies are a good way to start there! claps excitedly

    Like

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