MICHAEL PENNED RIDGEBACK TALES ABOUT BRAVE TSAVO, THE FIRST RHODESIAN RIDGEBACK DOG AND HIS MULTIPLE LIVES, INSPIRED AND CO-WRITTEN BY HIS OWN DOG, MISTER BROWN.
VIPASSANA IS THE FOUNDATION OF HIS PERSONAL ECOLOGY.
PRACTICED TM FOR OVER TWO DECADES UNTIL HE DISCOVERED SHINZEN’S WORK IN 1992, LISTENING TO ROY OF HOLLYWOOD ON "SOMETHING'S HAPPENING" KPFK 90.7 FM LATE NIGHT RADIO.
Michael Hoffman lives in Dana Point, California, where he works as a doctor of addictive disorders and author of short stories and books on spiritual psychology. He and his therapy dog, Mister Brown, regularly bring smiles and laughter to elders in local assisted living centers in South Orange County.
Michael’s therapy practice emphasizes mindfulness skills, Buddhist theory, Jungian active imagination, myths and storytelling to treat anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive problems. He believes that “mood and behavior disorders are predictable reactions to unconscious self-criticism and existential angst created by repeated exposure to provocative and idealized images of people, places and things on advertisements, social media, and soundbyte news.”
That’s why meditation is a foundation of my psychotherapy business. All the psychology I learned in grad school seems like just so much discursive thinking now. There’s no fourth moment in any of that. Western people are so used to thinking that they really get upset when they’re not doing busy thinking.
The average American’s present moment is spent worrying, and being anxious. They don’t have the fourth moment of consciousness -- which is the gap of pure awareness. Nirvana, that’s the name of the game. They don’t know. They never experienced it.
Michael’s journey to this deep understanding began as a seven-year old.
I was raised as a Christian scientist, so we didn’t take medicine. I got terrible asthma, and my parents finally relented. I took a medicine that the FDA later banned.
So, here I am, this little kid, and my mom’s dosing me with a sedative hypnotic narcotic drug, and I experienced states of ecstasy from the drug that I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to understand. But it left this impression on me: there’s something really wonderful in my consciousness.
I took that medicine ‘til I was 12 years old—and it set me on the search. I was left with this salience tag about bliss and a state of mind where there was no fear no worry and no care. So I’ve spent my entire life looking for ways to do that.
You can’t do it with drugs and alcohol because your body can’t survive that, so that’s why I started to meditate.
Whether it’s addiction to drugs, to thinking, or to behaviors, it’s all ignorance of the human nervous system’s native ability to get high.
I always tell my clients, my goal is to become irrelevant. I want them to say, that’s the guy who introduced me to meditation. I wonder what happened to him.
Learn more about Michael’s work at soberbuddha.com and check out his book The Thirsty Addict Papers: Spiritual Psychology for Counselors, which teaches techniques of mindfulness and Carl Jung's active imagination.
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