experience is the teacher

“The river knows everything; one can learn everything from it.”
—Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

Ordinary daily experience needs to be a school where we study and a teacher from whom we learn.

Is this how you approach your life?

If not, you’re short-changing yourself. The Roman philosopher Seneca is quoted as saying: “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”


Because to liberate oneself from recurrent toxic emotions and self-defeating ideas, we must actively participate in a practice of life-long learning and growth.

roman philosophy & nyc therapy?

Yes. Actually, the major theorists of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in NYC and elsewhere were well versed in the philosophy of Stoicism.

When people seek therapy in NYC for anxiety, codependency, anger management or other problems in living, they are exhibiting a readiness and a willingness to “keep learning how to live.” They may not be thinking in these terms, but to seek help from a therapist in NYC is to be open to seeing things through a new lens, stepping outside one’s comfort zone, accepting feedback, expressing vulnerability, taking emotional risks and considering new ways of pursuing happiness.

And by the way, “happiness” is a very misunderstood and misused concept. It is not something that comes along automatically with the attainment of wealth, marriage, public adoration or worldly success. Those things can be wonderful if handled well, but we all know they can also be mirages in a desert of emotional isolation and psychological misery.

Happiness is an experience—and if we want to experience it more often, then we must cultivate it, one day at a time, no matter what external circumstances we find ourselves in. Happiness is a habit of being. Thankfully, we can generate it in our lives by creating balance between our competing needs, including our needs for:

Virtuous living
Service to others
Help from others
Postponing gratification
Healthy solitude
Imperfect living
Care for self
Letting go

And it goes without saying that the good life also requires that we have at least a few close associates (i.e. friends, lovers, family, peers) with whom we can truly be ourselves and share the journey.

make a commitment to cultivating happiness

Cultivating happiness in our lives (and in the world) requires that we function as students of our own experiences and relationships, that we learn from the ordinary circumstances, routines, dynamics and processes of daily life. And sure, we absolutely need to function as leaders in our lives as well, but the paradox is that the best leaders are eternal students—always learning, always cultivating, always growing.

As we become increasingly skilled at and habituated into the practice of learning from experience, it becomes second nature for us: the heart, mind, brain, nervous system and spirit begin to work more effectively and more harmoniously together. The result is the development of an intuitive sense which serves as a competent guide in the direction of conscious, connected and creative living.

leave a reply