Channels of Anxiety
Unconscious anxiety can be channeled in a number of ways: through smooth muscle, striated muscle, and cognitive disruption; or it may undergo what has been referred to as “instantaneous repression of affect,” where it becomes channeled directly into depressive states.

“Co-mergence” is a newly coined term that refers to that dynamic where the ‘psychological’ and the ‘spiritual’ enter into, and arise out of each other on experiential levels through Dharma practice.  It is the driving force beneath Psychodynamic Zen, and works with a particular focus on the unique intra-psychic dimensions that relate to the Western psyche.

Defense mechanisms work to lower anxiety, helping us to avoid deeper, more difficult levels of experience. They may function superficially, or may be more deeply rooted and woven into one’s character.  Feelings themselves can also function as defenses.  In one case, for example, we might get angry as a way to avoid feeling sadness, while in another we might use sadness to defend against experiencing our anger.

Dragon Gate Makyo
This is a new term that refers to a particular variety of painful, core-state makyo that practitioners occasionally encounter. It will often have features that relate to a kind of early identity, and though not common, they usually signal a marked deepening of practice.

This term refers to processes we are aware of; for example, we may know that we’re tapping our foot because we’re nervous.

This refers to processes outside of our experience; for example, we may feel nervous and be unaware that we are tapping our foot.

Intrapsychic Focus
This term refers to a way of paying attention to how we are experiencing our thoughts, feelings, impulses, and bodily sensations; there’s a particular emphasis on getting to the conscious and unconscious dynamics that contribute to this internal experience.

Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) is a form of psychotherapy developed by Habib Davanloo, MD.  This method is designed to give us direct access to the unconscious, which means allowing us to experience a wide range of interconnected feelings, and in doing so, freeing us from the crippling forces of repression. Additional information

Kensho refers to the direct realization of one’s originally pure nature.  There are many degrees of awakening and kensho generally refers to an initial experience, one that must be deepened and refined through continued practice so that it can become integrated and fully functional in one’s life.

Makyo refers to various kinds of illusory experiences that arise out of practice – they may be sensory at first, but then may include various kinds of mindstates, some of which are driven by intrapsychic issues. As practice goes deeper they can also reflect distorted views of who we are in the world.

Mobilization of the Unconscious
This is the process by which a person’s unconscious becomes more fluid, more activated — something which can occur for many reasons, including therapeutic interventions and intensive forms of meditation practice.  As repressed material moves closer to the surface it becomes more accessible to the conscious mind, and at the same time stirs up anxiety. This mobilization creates a tension between the part of the mind that wants the material to be known, and another part that works to keep it repressed.

Neurobiological Pathways
This refers to the neurological channels by which feelings move through the body, so that we experience our feelings in a way that is both visceral and cognitive.

This term refers to the interplay between the conscious and unconscious forces of the mind. Psychodynamic theory holds that much of our mental activity occurs outside of conscious awareness, leaving us in the dark about many of the forces that govern our emotions and behavior.   For this reason, seemingly similar actions may have very different causes, and similar motives can lead to very different behaviors.

Psychodynamic Zen
We are using the term Psychodynamic Zen to refer to a certain understanding of Zen, and a style of Dharma practice, that recognizes and works in direct ways with the unique conscious and unconscious psychological features that may arise out of Zen practice in the West.

Those forces that work against allowing the unconscious to become conscious.

We use this term to describe a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and mindstates that manifest themselves in self-critical and self-crippling ways. Self-afflictive dynamics are driven by the repressive forces of the unconscious, and can function in ways that create pain, obstruct intimacy, and undermine deeper forms of meditation.

This refers to feelings that a student or client has towards the teacher or therapist (or anyone else with whom one has a significant relationship in the present).  We can distinguish between feelings in the transference – those feelings based on the actual relationship, versus transference feelings – feelings that arise out of past relationships, that are then projected onto the teacher or therapist.

Transference issues grow out of unresolved issues from a person’s past, in relation to a single important figure in one’s life, or an amalgam of such relationships.  When this dynamic becomes entrenched over time, it often manifests itself through unconscious attempts to recreate a previous relationship, or aspects of that relationship, with another person in the present.  This is referred to as transference neurosis.

Counter-transference refers to the same dynamic, but in the reverse direction, so it applies to those unconscious feelings and expectations projected onto the client or student by the therapist or teacher.

When we speak of the unconscious we are referring to the thoughts, feelings, impulses and experiences that remain outside of awareness and, psychodynamically speaking, to internal experiences that have been pushed out of the conscious mind because they are too threatening or unacceptable.