Handbook of Mindfulness

Part of the series Mindfulness in Behavioral Health pp 337-352


The Ultimate Rx: Cutting Through the Delusion of Self-cherishing

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Western and Buddhist psychologies acknowledge the significant role distorted self-narratives play in poor mental health. But these two disciplines hold divergent views on the utility of “cherishing the self.” Western psychology claims high self-esteem is a requirement for self-confidence, happiness, and success. Buddhist psychology asserts wisdom and compassion are the forerunners of genuine confidence and sustainable personal and collective well-being. It further states that endemic self-cherishing—the habitual reification of distorted hyper-egoic self-narratives—is a primary source of mental and emotional affliction. Yet, Buddhist psychology also affirms the innate capacity of all human beings to end the mental suffering of self-cherishing. This chapter explicates Western and Buddhist psychological models of self, Buddhist theories of not-self, and conventional and ultimate self-cherishing, and outlines a somatopsychotherapeutic clinical approach for helping individuals struggling with depressive, anxious, trauma-related symptoms, and addictions, to recognize self-cherishing mentation and lessen its deleterious effects.


Buddhist psychology Mindfulness psychotherapy Mindfulness Somatic psychotherapy Meditation Embodied cognition Embodied presence Not-self Buddhist philosophy