Vipassana-CBT Tech

How to stop wrong-making

The core of the problem is not the sensation that you call upset, but the attitude of wrong-making that sustains it.

You may have noticed the paradox in my stating this. To criticize wrong-making is to make it wrong. Buddhists get around this trap by using off-center vocabulary. So I’ll do that and say, What I’m actually doing is pointing out that wrong-making is unwholesome.

Is stopping the wrong-making feeling helpful? In most cases, I’d say No. I need more of it. Change is painful, so if you need to change it helps if you make the pain of not-changing greater than the good pain that you need to embrace. Not doing what you ought to do is wrong—by your own commitment. Yes, make yourself wrong!

But there are times when the wrong-making is just a habit—and a debilitating one socially. So here we will learn to stop wrong-making for the sake of stopping suffering. Because it is proven empirically that if you stop wrong-making, suffering will lessen. Here’s the drill:

Vipassana-CBT Tech

  1. Arising right now in your somatic center are sensations.
  2. Some of these are unpleasant enough to motivate the judgment, “This is wrong.”
  3. When this judgment is made, new chemicals are released.
  4. When new chemicals are released, new sensations (mixed with the ones from step 1) arise.
  5. These sensations motivate the continued assertion of the judgment, “This is wrong.”
  6. When this judgment is made, new chemicals are released.

… and so on.

Research has shown that the two most effective interventions are CBT and Vipassana:

  1. CBT method—Stop the intentionality of wrong-making by criticizing its rational basis. This is stopping reaction to the event at the level of samjñā (conceptual recognition).
  2. Vipassana—Stop reacting to the sensation by becoming aware of it instead and being equanimous towards it as a sensation. This is stopping reaction to the event at the level of vedanā (sympathetic nervous response; the object of craving/aversion).