Dr. Ronald Alexander (Dr. Ron) joins us on Mental Health News Radio to discuss his book Wise Mind Open Mind and his incredible career. We get to know him even for a moment in time and to understand why he chose this work, what he is passionate about, and what he’s doing next. Spend a lovely 50 minutes with us exploring spirituality, being your most authentic self, and how important it is to live within your innate curiosity.
The first chapter of Wise Mind, Open Mind is called “Three Steps to Creating a Mandala for Your Life.” What is a mandala and why do you use it as a metaphor? Alexander offers an original three-step plan for achieving creative transformation in the midst or wake of a crisis. It includes, Letting Go, Tuning Into your Core Creativity, and Moving Forward. In the first step you learn to let go of resistance to change, in the second you learn to tune in to your soul’s deep wisdom; and in third you learn how to move forward based on your newly acquired insight. Alexander offers step-by-step mindfulness meditations for moving through each of these stages.
The program you present for overcoming crisis in Wise Mind, Open Mind draws heavily on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. First, explain what this is and second, tell us why you believe it is useful in times of crisis. Mindfulness practice is an exciting new area that blends the best of East and West. By adapting ancient wisdom practices of mindfulness and meditation to positive psychology and the therapeutic process it offers powerful tools for transforming difficult emotions and becoming more aware of oneself and the world. Alexander explains how and why these techniques are so useful in overcoming crisis.
What is a wisdom council of support and why do you encourage people to form one? Alexander recognized that even with powerful mindfulness tools at your disposal, getting through a crisis still requires a support system comprised of caring and wise individuals. It’s why he offers step-by-step help for building a “wisdom council of support” and explains the roles that each member should play. They include: peer, educator, coach, and dharma teacher.
“Wise mind” is a Buddhist term. Can you explain its meaning in Buddhist philosophy for us? In Buddhism a wise mind is a state of consciousness that allows you to observe your thoughts without becoming emotionally invested in them. Alexander explains: “In wise mind you stop running with your thoughts wherever they take you and find yourself sitting with a sense of serenity and clarity, observing what your mind churns up and easily discerning its qualities, setting aside what’s unwholesome and taking delight in what’s wholesome.” Wise mind results from building mindstrength, the ability to use mindfulness to master thoughts, beliefs, and emotions and tap into the core creativity that empowers you to take positive and wise action. In WISE MIND, OPEN MIND, Alexander shows you how to cultivate mindstrength and achieve wise mind.
What are a few myths about meditation? Myths about mindfulness abound. Alexander debunks four of the most common ones: Practicing mindfulness meditation will conflict with my religious beliefs; I’m too restless and busy to learn to be quiet and practice any form of meditation; If I practice mindfulness it will put out the fire of my ambition and creativity; and If I practice mindfulness, what I’ll discover will be so upsetting that I’ll be paralyzed with fear.
Ronald Alexander, PhD is a licensed psychotherapist, international trainer, leadership consultant, and the Executive Director of the OpenMind Training® Institute in Santa Monica, a leading edge organization that offers personal and professional training programs in mind-body therapies, transformational leadership, and mindfulness. This unique method combines the wisdom teachings of the East with positive psychology and creative thinking into a comprehensive, integrated, behaviorally effective mind-body program. He is the author of the widely acclaimed book Wise Mind, Open Mind that provides practical and innovative applications to help us through today’s challenging times.