Naiken Therapy

The inverted tree, one of the first diagrams I placed on my web site, draws attention to the complications that can arise because we are able to reflect on our past, speculate about our future and, as often as not, skip over the present.

David Brazier has drawn my attention to ways of working that are less well-known to me. Some of his spiritual direction draws my attention to the impact of our relationship with time – one that can undermine or improve our emotional well-being.

One practical way this can be done can be found on an UK-based web site that describes Naikan Therapy. This can be found at:

I like the quote credited to Gregg Krech saying “The biggest risk you can take is to do nothing at all, when you know there’s something you need to do.”

Sounds familiar to me as I can either ACT now, or not ACT now (the middle box of my inverted tree diagram). I am not well-versed in the Buddhist philosophy that may well lie behind that quote, but that is how I am seeing it.

This web site provides an immediate safe experiment when it asks us to reflect on:

  • What have I received from ___? 
  • What have I given to ___? 
  • What troubles and difficulties have I caused ___?

I sense this is a specific and practical starting point: I can consider these questions in relation to both my immediate family and friends, as well as my wider world.

To do full credit to Naikan therapy is not be easy As ever, I’d see research by each of us as a safe experiment. My curiosity has been stimulated by my own enquiries.

I will summarise the web site, however, when it says Naikan is a Japanese word that means “inside looking”, “introspection” or “seeing oneself with the mind’s eye”. Meditation is encouraged to transform our way of journeying based on Buddhist teachings. It offers retreats in which structured methods of self-examination and reflection are practised. The aspiration seems to be to help people understand themselves, and their relationships with others.

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How to give yourself a Nudge

David Brazier