Mary Pipher, aka Mary Elizabeth Pipher or Mary Bray Pipher

Mary
Pipher, aka Mary Elizabeth Pipher or Mary Bray Pipher
1947

American Clinical Psychologist and Author of Seeking Peace: The Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World

Author Quotes

Adolescence is a time when children are supposed to move away from parents who are holding firm and protective behind them. When the parents disconnect, the children have no base to move away from.

Adolescents are travelers, far from home with no native land, neither children nor adults. They are jet-setters who fly from one country to another with amazing speed. Sometimes they are four years old.

Some [adolescent] girls are depressed because they have lost their warm, open relationship with their parents. They have loved and been loved by people whom they now must betray to fit into peer culture.

Teenage girls are extremists who see the world in black-and- white terms, missing shades of gray. Life is either marvelous or not worth living. School is either pure torment or is going fantastically.

Religions are metaphorical systems that give us bigger containers in which to hold our lives. A spiritual life allows us to move beyond the ego into something more universal. Religious experience carries us outside of clock time into eternal time. We open ourselves into something more complete and beautiful. This bigger vista is perhaps the most magnificent aspect of a religious experience.

There is a sense in which Karl Marx was correct when he said that religion is the opiate of the people. However, he was wrong to scoff at this. Religion can give us skills for climbing up on onto a ledge above our suffering and looking down at it with a kind and open mind. This helps us calm down and connect to all of the world's sufferers. Since the beginning of human time, we have yearned for peace in the face of death, loss, anger and fear. In fact, it is often trauma that turns us toward the sacred, and it is the sacred that saves us.

The fullness of life comes from an identity built on giving and on joy.

I practiced what the Dalai Lama calls 'inner disarmament.' Of course, I still had judgments, but I tried to accept even my judgments without judgment. At a glacial pace, I moved beyond repression and self-criticism to something more skillful. I discovered the difference between recoiling from feelings and opening to them. I trained myself to be more curious than fearful. Sometimes I even felt compassion for myself as I struggled.

There is a Buddhist saying, "No resistance, no demons.”

I read of a Buddhist teacher who developed Alzheimer's. He had retired from teaching because his memory was unreliable, but he made one exception for a reunion of his former students. When he walked onto the stage, he forgot everything, even where he was and why. However, he was a skilled Buddhist and he simply began sharing his feelings with the crowd. He said, "I am anxious. I feel stupid. I feel scared and dumb. I am worried that I am wasting everyone's time. I am fearful. I am embarrassing myself." After a few minutes of this, he remembered his talk and proceeded without apology. The students were deeply moved, not only by his wise teachings, but also by how he handled his failings.

With meditation I found a ledge above the waterfall of my thoughts.

Prayer is vastly superior to worry. With worry, we are helpless; with prayer, we are interceding. When I hear sad news, I try to say a prayer for the victims. When I am troubled, I will say a prayer that asks for relief for myself and for all those who suffer as I do. When I am concerned about my relatives or friends I say a short prayer to myself - "May they be happy and free of suffering."

Parents wrongly assume that their daughters live in a world similar to the one they experienced as adolescents. They are dead wrong. Their daughters live in a media-drenched world floded with junk values. As girls turn from their parents, they turn to this world for guidance about how to be an adult.

Telling stories never fails to produce good in the universe.

I think anorexia is a metaphor. It is a young woman's statement that she will become what the culture asks of its women, which is that they be thin and nonthreatening. Anorexia signifies that a young woman is so delicate that, like the women of China with their tiny broken feet, she needs a man to shelter and protect her from a world she cannot handle. Anorexic women signal with their bodies "I will take up only a small amount of space. I won't get in the way." They signal "I won't be intimidating or threatening." (Who is afraid of a seventy-pound adult?)

Girls developed eating disorders when our culture developed a standard of beauty that they couldn't obtain by being healthy. When unnatural thinness became attractive, girls did unnatural things to be thin.

I'm a perfectly good carrot that everyone is trying to turn into a rose. As a carrot, I have good color and a nice leafy top. When I'm carved into a rose, I turn brown and wither.

Real friends require honesty, openness, and even vulnerability. They also require attention and simple acts of kindness.

Maturity involves being honest and true to oneself, making decisions based on a conscious internal process, assuming responsibility for one's decisions, having healthy relationships with others and developing one's own true gifts.

One important reason to stay calm is that calm parents hear more. Low-key, accepting parents are the ones whose children keep talking.

Connections have a way of making us morally accountable. At a most basic level we behave better with people and places we see again and again. Some of the worst behaviors in America occur in airports and on interstates, places where we move among strangers.

Author Picture
First Name
Mary
Last Name
Pipher, aka Mary Elizabeth Pipher or Mary Bray Pipher
Birth Date
1947
Bio

American Clinical Psychologist and Author of Seeking Peace: The Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World