Category: Stevens Misc


Pornography -NIRVANA or BLISS? Maya the Ultimate temptress

Is Pornography the direct route to Nirvana or Bliss for you?

Many of the men who to come my busy counseling practice are dealing with too Much Nirvana-that is to say, Their desire for bliss out weighs they ability to make wise choices. So much so, that it is costing their Marriages, relationships, and it costs too much of their time, not to mention the daily cost and for some the weekly if not daily trips to the local barber shop. (Clip joint Other wise known as a Parlor of sexual pleasure.

So does Pornography provide a direct route to Nirvana or Bliss?

Yes and No

Yes the feeling or sensation of release is beyond beyondanda, the sense of freedom and wellbeing is incomprehensible and utterly delightful… Yet the cost, the eventual negative consequences overshadows the short term benefits.

Maya being the temptress of all temptress’s, the most wondrous of drugs and addictions. Because you can have Maya in an infinite number of ways, the menu is limitless. Literally Neapolitan in any which way you like.

No matter how much Nirvana you experience, there is the come down, the let down, a short lived, limited sense of euphoria that never lasts. It never lasts as one would like. If it did, there would no reason to return would there?
The services have a limitation, The highs always end in a deepening low, and the man or woman of desire believes more will return them to their blissful states.. Having a short sense of pleasure, eventually there is a let down
And wala, the stress return,s life’s red flashing lights return, “I want relief”, the motive or desire to remove life’s apparent challenges goes on and one. .

With the apparent “Stress” Maya makes her appearance in full spectral daylight. All engines are on go, Sensations are on high, literally the mind imagines the feelings, the pictures, the stimulus and without considering the consequences of one’s behavior, one is blinded by desire, a B-line is made, the shortest distance between two points is conceived … For many men the urges are uncontrollable and a return to pornography sites on web reoccur at an alarming rate.. Helpless and out of control the urges continue.

“I gotta have it now, I gotta have it now”?.

This is the addictive cycle and it does not stop there for in the not to distant future, one’s actions result in unexpected destructive consequences.

Short term gain, long term pain.

Three questions I immediately ask prospective clients:

“Do you use pornography to reduce stress”?

“How long does Nirvana-Bliss last”?

“What are you afraid of”?

There is no shame here, we are sexual beings..

Please contact Steven Shaps Marriage and Family Therapist

If you would like a consultation I can be reached at 503.913.7295 My website is I offer telephone consultations all over the world.


“How to be Free” Karma Yoga. Swami Paramarthananda


“HOW TO BE FREE (Karma Yoga) ”
“This essay is an excellent Sanskrit-­‐free transcription of an equally excellent talk by ”
“Swami Paramarthananda (Chennai) written by a good friend who prefers to remain anonymous. ”

“Every action we perform has the same goal: freedom. We work to get money to free ourselves from poverty.

We strive for success to free ourselves from failure. We search for the perfect mate to free ourselves from loneliness. But, no matter how wealthy and successful and loved we become, we can never free ourselves from insecurity, for everything we gain in time can and eventually will be lost in time. We know this. It makes us worry. It makes us sad. ”

“Every man who’s ever lived has faced the same problem of how to be free from his insecurity. It’s the one great problem of life. But thousands of years ago, the problem was solved. The way to be free is to give up worrying about the results of our actions.Giving up worrying is called karma yoga. ”

“But how do we give up worrying?

“A practical program was worked out in ” India and passed on through teachers and through writings. One of these writings is called the Song of God. It takes place as a huge battle is about to begin. ”

“A great warrior is worried about the results of the battle. It’s a civil war and he will have to kill friends and family. He doesn’t want to do this, but he has his duty as a soldier and leader. He wants to be free of that duty. He wants to be free of the whole bloody business. He turns to his friend for help. And he receives that help through the teaching of karma yoga. He is given a five-­‐point program to put into practice: ”

“1. Remember that freedom is the goal of all your actions. ”

“2. Offer all your actions to God, or the cosmos, or to whatever name or ”
“form you give to the force that keeps this world spinning. ”

“3. Drop all expectations about the results of your actions. ”

“4. Remember that you can’t really hold onto or completely control anything”
“in this world; you can only use it for a time. ”

5. Know you can endure anything life throws at you and that everything””happens as it should and must happen, according to laws that can never be broken. So there is no reason to fret and pray for things to be different.”
“This program can free us from our fears. It is time-­‐tested, rooted in””plain truths we all recognize and the only program that works.

“The first point is to remember that all our actions have one goal:”Freedom”
If we remember this, we will avoid actions that limit us. Freedom is all about overcoming limitations. A limit is a boundary and boundaries are painful to us.”
“We hate boundaries because they contradict our nature, which is freedom itself.

When we can’t have something or do something, it irks us; it feels unnatural. The most painful of all limitations is the feeling that we are small and powerless creatures at the mercy of an often hostile or indifferent world. This is the big limitation from which all the others arise.”

“Because we feel small and powerless, we try to make ourselves big and powerful.
All the miseries of the world come from this attempt. Karma yoga asks the question: how do you know you are small and powerless?”

“What evidence do you have that you are just this limited body and mind? Don’t we observe the body and mind like we observe other objects?”
“And we never confuse ourselves with objects. We never think we are the table we see in front of us.

Why do we think we are the body we see in front of us, or the thoughts that come and go in the mind? These are things we observe. The big question is: Who is the observer? The answer: I am.”
“The observer is who we truly are. The body and mind are not who we are.

Otherwise, we would disappear when the body disappears in sleep, or vanish when a thought vanishes. But we – the observer, the awareness – remain. So if we are awareness, we are not at the mercy of the world. In fact, the world simply comes and goes in our awareness, which never changes.”

“So we are already free. We simply have to recognize it and remember it.
If we know that we are free, then we won’t strain ourselves in trying to become free by acquiring things that bind us to the fears of an ever changing and insecure world. We stop doing things to become free. We will act as free beings.

“The realization that we are awareness – pure, simple and free – is”
“radically opposed to our usual way of thinking: that we are the person we see in the mirror. It may take some getting used to and that is why there are four more points to the program.”

The second point in the program is to offer our actions to God, or to whatever we call the force that governs the world. In a way we do this whether we are conscious of it or not, for there is no escaping this force, which is the very field ”
in which all action takes place.”

“””God”” is a term that comes with a lot of baggage,
“so much so it would be better not to use it if it were not so difficult to find a replacement for it. To talk about God in a sensible way, we have to forget all the childish notions of a big and powerful being in the clouds who watches us, most often with a disapproving eye.”

“Karma yoga regards God as the intelligent force that maintains this world according to invariable laws”
Our bodies and minds are part of this world and fall under the same laws that govern all matter, from the grossest to the most subtle.”

“Karma is action. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”
This is as true of those human actions we call moral as it is of physical actions. Everything we do produces a result. We cannot stop the result from happening any more than we can stop the force of gravity from operating. A law is a law.”

“Some religious people think God acts arbitrarily:
“giving grace to some, withholding it from others, punishing and rewarding according to some inscrutable will that must forever remain dark to us. Some people pray to this God they have imagined in the hope of influencing his actions. When you think about it, can anything be sillier?”

“The so-­‐called prayer of petition rests upon the idea that God can be swayed by our groveling and whining.”
” That is so irrational a world should be bgoverned by so vain a creator is a conception unworthy of an intelligent being. ”

Karma yoga completely rejects such a conception of God.”
“To offer our daily actions to God is simply to recognize that each of”
“our actions will produce an appropriate and irreversible result. To say that God gives the results of actions is the same as saying that every action contains its own result. God then is simply the field of action to which we all belong, and when we act we plant seeds in that field which will bear fruit, each according to its kind.”

“Once we realize this, we will no longer act in ignorance.
“And the knowledge that actions produce inevitable results leads us to the third point in the program:

Drop all expectations about the results of our actions.”

“We spend so much of our waking life worrying about what will happen”
Not only does this worry drain our energy, it draws us into a world of fantasy, where we imagine either good or bad things happening to us and suffer accordingly, even though nothing whatsoever is actually happening. We come to believe that if we think intensely enough, torture our imaginations sufficiently, fill ourselves with enough hope or dread, we will be able either to produce or prevent a particular result.”

“So long as we cling to expectations, we will be miserable.
“We forget that results are irreversible and wholly determined by the nature of the action and by the nature of the field in which the seed of action is planted. We should take a moment to think about the nature of the field.”

“The law of karma – of action/reaction – is simple on the one hand,”
“but infinitely complex on the other. To stick with the image of the seed, we know that it is not simply the quality of the seed that will determine the nature of the plant. Many other factors come into play: the makeup of the soil, the weather, interaction with other plants and creatures, etc. Along with our own actions, over which we have some control, there are countless actions over which we have no control. All this goes into producing a particular result.”
“If we think about it, we realize that everything that happens is bound up with every thing that happens has happened or will ever happen.”

Experience is not a series of isolated events, but a tightly woven mesh in which it is impossible to distinguish individual threads.

“Any single action only be an infinitesimal part of the immense fabric of life, so what reasonable expectation can we have of a particular result? None.”

“So, karma yoga says: give up expectations.
“If we persist in clinging to the expectation of a particular result, we also suffer the disadvantage of not being fully aware of what is happening in the moment. If our mind is preoccupied with fears and desires, we may not see what is directly in front of us. We will end up sleepwalking through life, dreaming about the future, which is never real, and missing the present, which is the only reality.”

“When we cling to expectation:
we also make a judgement about what is good and evil. We have decided that our desire for a future result represents what is good; any outcome contrary to our expectation we tend to see as evil.”

Given the complex nature of the field in which actions take place:
most of our expectations will be disappointed. By clinging to expectations, we expose ourselves to the danger of feeling bitter and frustrated, thwarted by life and, perhaps, by God. We may become cynical. We may come to despise the world as evil, missing its beauty and splendor and seeing only our crushed hopes.

“We have to plan our actions, of course.
And every rational being acts for a particular end. But once we do whatever appears to be required by the situation, we should let go of any expectation about the results of our action. We should regard our action as we would a seed cast into the field. Whether the seed will thrive and what fruit it may produce are no longer our concerns. We should rest content with having done our duty.”

But it is hard to let go of an action once we have identified it as our action.”

This brings us to the fourth point in the program: Remember that you can’t really hold onto or completely control anything in this world; you can only use it for a time.”
“When we think we own something, we believe we have the right and the power to control it.

Karma yoga tells us the plain truth: we don’t really own anything, and we can’t really control anything.
“To think otherwise is to”live in delusion and invite disaster. How many human tragedies arise from the mistaken notion that one human being can control another?

Western culture is built upon the twin notions of ownership and It is not easy for us to realize that no thing and no person belongs to us. For a time, the law of karma gives us custody of certain objects and places us in certain relationships. All of this is temporary, that is, it arises in time and it will fall away in time.”

Much of the heartache we experience in life comes from trying to”make permanent that which is by nature impermanent. Even those things we manage to hold onto throughout our lives will be taken from us when our body dies. Yet, against all the evidence, we behave as though certain things are our permanent possession.”

And, of course, when we own something, we believe it is ours to”control. We think we have something called free will, and this free will gives us the power to manipulate people and objects as we see fit. The trouble is, people and objects won’t oblige our free will. They seem to have their own free will that cancels our free will. They go their own way, and we then feel impotent and become enraged or saddened.”

Karma yoga reminds us that our will is only one of the vast number of”factors that determines how things happen in the field of action. And we are part of that field, not the owners of it, nor the controllers of it. As we give up clinging to expectations, we must give up clinging to ownership and control. To do otherwise is a fool’s game.”

And try this on for size and see how it feels: You don’t own anything.”Not a blessed thing. When you rent a place, you are not terribly upset when a window gets broken or the roof leaks. It’s the landlord’s problem, not yours. He has to fix it.”
“We are renting everything in this life. It all belongs to the landlord, not to us.”

It’s only when we think we own anything that our troubles and worries begin. Let them go.”And let go of the notion that you are responsible for anyone else. Youdidn’t create anyone. You can’t control anyone.
You can’t even control yourself.If you could, you would arrange your life as a perfect dream. But you can’t.”

So give up the illusion and false responsibility of control, and feel the world lift from your shoulders. Then, breathe easy. Feel free.”

“The last point in the five-­‐point program is a counsel of courage:
“Know you can endure anything life throws at you and that everything happens as it should and must happen, according to laws that can never be broken. So there is no reason to fret and pray for things to be different.”

The first four points of the karma yoga program offer us knowledge.”

“The fifth point helps us to make that knowledge a living reality in our daily lives. Many religious people try to find the courage to confront the uncertainties of life by clinging to beliefs for which they have no evidence. Karma yoga gives us the courage to confront the uncertainties of life with proven knowledge.”

Courage ultimately comes from confidence:
“Otherwise, courage becomes foolhardiness, trusting in imaginary strength or ability. Once we recognize the nature of action and its results, we are free. We are no longer tormented by the absurd desire to control the world and weakened by our disappointed expectations. We can greet each day with a calm mind and loving heart, accepting all that comes as right and inevitable.”

Once we can do this, we can begin to love God, that is:
“The beautiful intelligent order of which our bodies and minds form a part. We watch life as a shifting pageant, and we play our part with zest and confidence. The world is no longer a threat to our security, no longer an enemy trying to take from us the things that we wish to own and control. We realize we own nothing, not even our own bodies. In that realization, lies the ultimate freedom.”

“Remember the first point of the program: Freedom is the goal of all our actions.
And that freedom lies in knowing that we are none of the things that we observe, but in knowing that we are the observer, the ever-­‐”
“free, changeless awareness in which all things come and go.”

Stages of Change

Five stages of change have been conceptualized for a variety of problem behaviors.

The five stages of change are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and

Precontemplation is the stage at which there is no intention to change
behavior in the foreseeable future. Many individuals in this stage are unaware or
underaware oftheir problems.

Contemplation is the stage in which people are aware
that a problem exists and are seriously thinking about overcoming it but have not yet
made a commitment to take action.

Preparation is a stage that combines intention and
behavioral criteria. Individuals in this stage are intending to take action in the next
month and have unsuccessfully taken action in the past year.

Action is the stage in which individuals modify their behavior, experiences, or environment in order to
overcome their problems. Action involves the most overt behavioral changes and
requires considerable commitment oftime and energy.

Maintenance is the stage in which people work to prevent relapse and consolidate the gains attained during action.
For addictive behaviors this stage extends from six months to an indeterminate period past the initial action.

As A Therapist it is important to establish the readiness of individuals. By doing so I am better prepared to offer you
those interventions that best suite you rather than using a shot gun of approaches.

When I consider where you really are along the continuum of change, it is my view that you are best served.

Motivational Interviewing: Preparing For Change

Motivational Interviewing: Preparing People for Change

Changing Behavior Is The Client’s Choice, How Can You Help The
Client Come To A Place Where He/She Sees Change And Sees The
Process Of Changing As Worthwhile.

Phase 1. As A therapist I would want to:
1. Avoiding premature focus trap. Start broad.
2. Confrontation/denial trap. Client ends up arguing against change.
3. Labeling Trap
4. Blaming Trap. Maybe active discussion of problem makes the
client feel blamed. Client feels blamed whatever the cause
5. Question/Answer Trap. Creates a passive client and controlling
counseling. Never ask 3 questions in a row, especially if you
open your session with questions
6. Expert Trap. Also involves asking too many questions. Activity,
energy and commitment needed for client in outside world; why
not let the client be more of an active participant in counseling?
Information gathering by doctor should reinforce energy and
activity, involving behavior, rather than passivity when you
expect them to actively take their medication, etc.
OPENING STRATEGIES: I might engage the client by:

1. Ask open-ended questions-can’t answer yes or no. Closed
questions can establish a passive client and are typical of intake
and many first sessions of counseling. Rethink what you need to
2. Listen reflectively (empathically); follow client’s path, not
yours .. Reflect back what client tells you. More efficient. It’s the
client who needs to move. Listen to himlher. Like Roger’s idea of
being a mirror for the client. Good for gaining time when you
don’t know where you want to go or to cross cultural boundaries.
Concentrate on client’s interpretation of problem, not problem
itself. No on judgment; yes on reflection whether you agree with
client or not. Validate. Allows client to make “change talk” and
locate his/her fear and anxiety about change. Don’t react to
hearing negative information. Listen to their body language or
when client stops talking. This technique provides a safety net.

3. Summarize. Giving back to the person in a contained form. Here
is where you can be a bit directive. Person hears themselves in my reflecting
back of what they have said and then they hear your
summary, which contains your emphases to reinforce certain
aspects of what they said and not other aspects. Don’t use
needless words. “Offering a bouquet to the client.” Can serve as
an interim summary and then ask, “What else?”

4. Affirm. With “problem talk” and “problem focus,” easy to forget
positive things. Convey respect for client’s achievement,
struggles, and feelings. Reframing weaknesses into strength.
Must not be phony or contrived on counselor’s part. Must
monitor yourself to see where you see possible affirmation.

5. Eliciting self-motivating statements. The client makes the
argument for change. This is usually done by counselor, so you
change that relationship.

a. Problem recognition. The client’s realizing that there is a
need for a change and he/she articulates the costs and
benefits of change.

b. Expressed concern. Both the cognitive and emotional
aspects of their condition. Follow this by reflective

c. Intention to change. Arises more in later stages of change 1
but also can occur in crisis (like aftereffects of substance
abuse). The client needs to “own’ the change.

d. Optimism for change. Ability to change-goes beyond
intention. “I could change in chose to.” The client
articulates the ability to behave differently.


Climb out

When we feel depressed, it often feels or looks to us like everything is bad or wrong. Nothing seems to go right and the harder we try to make things better. Often we feel like and think we are not going anywhere. We may feel helpless and that goes hand in hand with hopelessness.

Having low energy we may want to stay in bed, not do our usual routine. Finding fault or making excuses, it often seems easier not to do anything rather then take constructive action. Not caring, or thinking negatively sometimes goes hand in hand with thoughts to hurt or punish ourselves when we unable to get out and up through a fog we can barely see through.

No one is blame for this situation and invite you let go judging or making yourself wrong for having this experience if you do. That behavior makes it worse.

When an uncomfortable feelings or sensations arise, we want to know what they are and rightfully so. With each question and inquiry into the source of reason for the troubling feelings we might be left with no answer.

“What is wrong?” “Why Me?’ “Why do I feel this way?” “There must be something wrong me maybe what is it………..”

“Why do I have no energy to do the things like to do?”

And because we all like to figure things out and the very least have the right answers, we may meet more questions unanswered. Please do not fret if this is your predicament.

A continued search for the answer can trigger us to spiral deeper into the seeming pit.

All is not lost and neither are you. Believe me. .

“Have Heart, more often then not, things are not as they appear, nor as we think they are”

Should you have feelings of depression or just can’t get out of a funk, consider a call to me and I will be happy to assist you.

Steven Shaps MFT. 503.913.7295 Washington and Oregon

Breaking Illusions Seeing Past Maya Live interview

Please Access Zen Radio for A recent Interview, Breaking through illusions and Maya.

Are You Predisposed to Wait for things to change?

It is very interesting how personal style and disposition may run us.

Some people would rather get out there into the world to make things happen. Try everything possible to stay afloat in challenging times, while others would sit back & be patient.

When does the so called patient person,  run out of patience & become more aggressive in the search for work and when does the more aggressive ones finally give up?

What is the tipping point?

How does it feel to give up?

What is it like to turn  the motor on full throttle after idling for a time?

Where do you fit in the picture?

If you are lucky enough to be working and making a decent wage, are you less concerned about being laid off, or having your income reduced then the person worried that they can not find a job?

It is relative isn’t it? Or does it depend on our emotional maturity?

Are you running on fumes now?

How long can you rely on your savings if you have been fortunate enough in the past 2-3 years to have saved?

All of these questions are discussed in my counseling practice each day.  I have to look at my own situation as well.  Each week a client that used to be regular needs to cut back to one half if not pulling back entirely.

Others are dealing with extreme anxiety about what to do or  how to survive, should I walk away from my home for which I cannot afford.

Transforming ourselves from a free floating culture of haves, where security meant having money in your pocket to spend as you wish and when you wanted,  to becoming  a daily concern, and nightly anxiety attacks about  where the next dollar is going to come from.

These and other reactions are transforming our psyche, our homes, and our relationships with ourselves.

Perhaps everything is happening  as it should be.

From Consumers who consumed at will,  perhaps it is high time, we are learning to be more careful with what we have and valuing what we used to take for granted?

I would like to think so.

Has our addictions finally caught up with us?

Are we all not being forced to onto the recovery wagon?

Well I think all of us know that the answer.

All is not lost here, there is a silver lining for all situations, the question I have for you is:

Are you willing to look as well as  realize that everything is happening as it should.

We are not being punished, other then by our own faulty reactions, our childlike responses for the lack of control over a world that has never been there for us to control in the beginning.

Waking up to this truth is not easy, but we have to grow up and see the reality of our ways.

Our former behaviors  are starring at us right in the face. What comes around does come around.

Are you willing to make the emotional shift in perspective?

Steven Shaps

Harvesting Happiness Live Interview On Anger, Pleases Listen

Please listen to the Live Interview with Lisa Kamen Interviewing Steven Shaps

“If within silence, that stillness spoke, would you listen with your heart?”

If within silence, that stillness spoke, would you listen with your heart. Would you abide in that home, would you need anything else? Would your true Self not have all of the wanting & all desires, quenched? And not to forget the tendencies, be now replenished? That silence sings the ultimate, the supreme, go within. “I am that.” Steven Shaps

My Wisdom Pages by Steven Shaps

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