Thank you for reading thecheers.org's thoughts about the world articles.
Julian I. Taber, Ph.D. is a retired clinical psychologist who specialized in the treatment of addictive behavior and is a recognized authority on problem gambling having published a number of research reports in professional journals over the years. He received two national awards for his early work with problem gamblers. His book, In The Shadow of Chance, was published by members of Gamblers Anonymous and is used in professional training workshops. Taber is currently at work on several nonfiction books related to psychology as well as satirical novellas, short stories and non-fiction articles. His articles, stories and essays have appeared in Ultralight Flying, USA Today, Editor and Publisher, The Las Vegas Review Journal, an anthology on September 11 by Sands Publishing, and in a Cup of Comfort Christmas Anthology offered by Adams Media. His essay on autobiography was published in Fulcrum Poetry 2005. Taber lives on Whidbey Island north of Seattle with a Siamese cat named Elsie.


The Agnostic Pulpit: Self-help

 article about self help industry isnt helping

This article belongs to Self-help theme.


If you are counting on using religion as part of a self-help program, forget it. As agnostics are fond of saying, "Nothing fails like prayer." No one has ever prayed away the fat or prayed away cravings for drugs, alcohol, or any other addiction.

Prayer won't get you through college, fix a nagging spouse, or elect the right candidate to office. It won't even prevent the next hurricane.

"
Nothing fails like prayer.
And yet people go one praying and asking for this and that. Sadly, the delivery system is no better than chance. Would you send a package with a delivery system that works only fifty percent of the time? Or check you baggage with an airline that loses your luggage most of the time?

Over the years, study after study has been done to evaluate the effectiveness of prayer on such things as plant growth, the fall of dice, and health recovery. Again, nothing fails like prayer, as we've proved that by now, in life experience and in the laboratory.

On the other hand, studies show that quiet, disciplined meditation does improve the quality of life, including the quality of abstinence from an addiction. Call it contemplative prayer if you like, but if mediation is prayerful, it involves just listening for answers, not asking for any kind of divine intervention, solution, or favour.

Almost forty years ago, Thomas Merton wrote an amazing little book called, Contemplative Prayer. Merton was a Catholic monk, but little Christian zeal emerges in his Zen-like writing about meditation. He wrote: "In reality, the monk abandons the world only in order to listen more intently to the deepest and most neglected voices that proceed from its inner depth." Here he was referring to the heart and mind of the individual.

"
We learn all we can about our problem, and then we go alone into a quiet place to listen for answers.
So, we have the suggestion from Merton, confirmed by countless opinions and studies in the psychological literature, that most of us already have the answers to complex life problems if only we allow ourselves to tap our inner wisdom. Good psychotherapy or participation in a self-help group can suggest additional reasonable alternatives we may not have thought of before.

The first step in any self-help program ought always to be the development of self-knowledge and self-understanding. To do this, we learn all we can about our problem, and then we go alone into a quiet place to listen for answers. We look at all the available groups and programs for whatever might help knowing that there is no single magic solution, no easy way out of complex problems.

If you have baggage, you probably know best how to handle it. If you don't, find some friends who have overcome similar problems and hang out with them. Don't trust religion to deliver the goods. In other words, don't confuse the entertainment of religion with real problem solving. Same applies for self-help books that are often written for simply making money.

See more about topics related to self-help at our self help site.

(Julian I. Taber, Ph.D. is author of Addictions Anonymous: Outgrowing Addiction with a Universal, Secular Program of Self-Development: ISBN 978-1-60145-647-2)





have your say


more in The Orbit
God vs. Communism: Our search for a national identity

How a decade of racial and political turmoil, a religious president, and an activist priest shaped the religious identity of a nation.

Outsourced Spirituality: The Organized Religion
self help industry isnt helping

The history of Mankind is filled with numerous instances which can be seen as advancements or retreats. The advent of writing is universally seen as an advancement.

The True price of Religious Freedom

Proposition 8 (Amending the California state constitution to make same sex marriage illegal) was touted as preserving Religious Freedom. Can anyone be truly free unless Everyone is free?

Were the Inquisitors bad people?

I claim that those medieval church fathers and inquisitors in the service of the church who destroyed their religious opponents without mercy were not basically bad or evil people.

My story: Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness
self help industry isnt helping

Every child raised as a Jehovah's Witness will have different circumstances. However, the intensity of pressure to conform remains constant.

thecheers.org

Welcome to TheCheers! We've been around for a long time now, since 2004, publishing articles by people from all over the world. Roughly 300 people from 30 different countries have written for us over the years. Should you want to become a volunteer contributor, be sure to contact us!

Random
Entertainment Blogs
get in touch

You can contact us via The Cheers Facebook page or The Cheers NEW Twitter account.