AWAKENING: "The Elephant Path"

AWAKENING: "The Elephant Path"
Posted on March 17, 2016 | Richard Haney, Ph.D. | Written on March 16, 2016
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A few years ago, I had the good fortune to participate in a wonderful experiential hypnotherapy training seminar on Cape Cod, sponsored by the Harvard University Medical School.  The focus of the seminar was the integration of Eastern meditation traditions with self-hypnosis and visualization practices from Western psychotherapy traditions. The Harvard Professor of Psychology who led this seminar has collaborated and traveled extensively with The Dalai Lama.  The seminar was very valuable because this topic is on the very cusp of where East meets West.

One very powerful part of the seminar was the exploration of the concept of “negativity” which seems to preoccupy so many people in the West.  When The Dalai Lama was asked to explain how Buddhists deal with “negativity”, he went off for a few hours with two other Buddhist monks to consider the question.  When he returned, he said that they do not have a word for “negativity” because they do not have this CONCEPT in their tradition. This is profound!  The principle they operate on is duality and duality precludes the projections of “negativity” and “positivity”.  Basically, there is no need for “positive” and “negative”.  They become an arbitrary and unnecessary burden on one's psyche.

The Buddhists have many powerful and valuable sacred principles, such as, non-attachment, beginner's mind and the razor's edge. The Indo-Tibetan Buddhist concept that I learned in this seminar is called “The Elephant Path”.  This is the path that eventually leads to staying in the fully awakening state virtually “all the time”.  “Staying” is the operative word because it is literally impossible for a “part animal” to “stay” in this state.  Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha, would probably say: “Catch yourself as soon as possible when you fall out of awareness, and choose to go back into Awakening.”  The Elephant Path moves slowly onward, like an elephant.  At every turn on the way to the next higher state, there are nasty, vicious monkeys that represent all of our fears and obstacles.  I believe that we can muster the courage to face our fears and obstacles.

I truly wish and hope that you experience this wonderful state of Awakening before you leave this life!  

This article was written by:

Richard M. Haney, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Counselling and Mediation)

Richard has been practising Wholistic Counselling, Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Mediation for the past 25 years in Ottawa.     

To contact Richard please call (613) 234-5678 or send an e-mail to:


About The Author

Richard Haney's picture

Richard has been a Counsellor-Mediator-Hypnotherapist in Ottawa for over 30 years.  His favorite slogan is:  "Listening well is the most eloquent sign of caring."