The Books

The First Noble Truth is “Life is Suffering.” But if the Buddha grew up in the hood he may have said “Life Sucks and Then You Die” (Chapter One)

Growing up in the Bronx in all the turbulence and craziness of the ‘60s, Jerry Duvinsky learnt this lesson first hand: The promising lives cut short, the tragic idealism and self-destruction. But life on the streets also teaches other things, and like the lotus flower that flourishes best in the mud and slime, out of these experiences can grow a deeper understanding of life, and even perhaps a path to true acceptance and liberation.

*One hundred percent of profits from sales of this book will be donated to the Three Jewels Sangha of the Kwan Um School of Zen. The hope is to someday establish a dharma center in the Binghamton, NY area.

Bronx Dharma is an irreverent and darkly humorous endeavor to translate the seemingly esoteric and remote philosophies and practices of Zen Buddhism to the reality of contemporary life on the streets.

Duvinsky utilizes autobiographical references from his life growing up in the Bronx during the turbulence of the 60s and 70s,  his 3o years of experience conducting psychotherapy, as well as his own Zen training under the tutelage of illuminated masters.  Duvinsky renders some basic principles of the Dharma as taught by the Buddha 2500 years ago into fresh and relevant themes and language to serve as a guide and inspiration to the Zen curious, or others trying to lead a more “woke” life while dealing with the challenges of modern existence

Perfect Pain/Perfect Shame:

A Journey Into Radical Presence – Embracing Shame Through Integrative Mindful Exposure: A Meeting of two Sciences of Mind.

In the first section of the book, the nature and origin of the more toxic forms of shame as well as the many ways that it produces personal suffering and psychiatric symptoms will be presented.

The second section introduces the reader to the Eastern orientation toward the so-called “dark emotions” based on what has been termed herein as Radical Presence.

Drawing largely on Buddhist psychology and specifically mindfulness based views and practices, the reader is provided a perspective of directly facing unpleasant emotional experiences and thereby reducing patterns of avoidance. The goal is to provide an understanding how everything that we experience, no matter how uncomfortable is at its deepest level, is perfect, just as it is. In fact it is our very endeavor to avoid emotional pain that lies at the heart of so much human suffering and serves to promote many forms of mental illness. This understanding is critically important especially when considering the unique characteristics of shame.

The third section focuses on bringing the approach of “radical presence” and “mindful exposure” directly to bear on the issue of shame.

Specific techniques and approaches are described that incorporate the mindful-exposure model. Other Eastern and Western based treatment approaches to address the problem of shame are described as well. Brief case vignettes and worksheets for self-assessment and home practice are provided.

Over the course of my time conducting psychotherapy, I have come to realize that a primary reason why people suffer and develop psychological and emotional symptoms is due to their endeavors to control the so-called “dark emotions”.

Our societal indoctrination and individual personal conditioning histories have led us to believe that difficult or powerful emotions are “bad”, “dangerous”, and potentially overpowering, and therefore in need of control. Conversely, I have also found that people can find relief from various forms of suffering by learning to dismantle their control strategies and thereby learn to not only face but embrace the most challenging affective experiences. Therefore you might say that this is the anti-self-help book. Whereas most books in this genre endeavor to help their readers to “control”, “manage” or “conquer” stress, anxiety, anger, grief and so on, it is the contention of this book that such endeavors may fail to help provoke true growth and liberation and can actually serve to perpetuate an illusion that lies at the very core of much of our difficulties.

Drawing upon research and accumulated knowledge from the realms of exposure based behavior therapies derived from learning and conditioning models,  the field of human development (specifically “attachment theory”), as well as the emerging area of “mindfulness” practice that originates from eastern philosophies and disciplines, I have constructed a conceptual framework to guide  therapeutic practices which I entitled Integrative Mindful Exposure.

The first two chapters explore the nature, history, and consequences of  the myriad ways in which we seek to control and avoid our emotional experience.

In the context of helping people to face the most difficult human emotions and experiences including fear, anger and shame, a description of Integrative Mindful Exposure philosophy and implementation is then offered. These three emotional states/experiences are, in my estimation at the core of much of our suffering and symptomatic difficulties, not just because of the experiences themselves, but due to the degree that we attempt to control these emotional states. The reader will also be exposed to other phenomena that individuals may face as they face the recesses of their inner psyche.

This book leads the reader into a deep inner journey –

so as to help them to lose control, that is to say, to recognize their control strategies and to learn methodologies to facilitate the abandonment of these potentially self-destructive control tendencies in favor of directly being present with these emotions. In so doing, one is offered the opportunity to gain not only freedom from difficult symptoms but to advance the pursuit toward personal liberation and harmony.