#278: Buddhist Strategies for Financial Abundance, Featuring Zeina Halim Jan 24, 2022
Today, we feature the work of Zeina Halim, a beloved member and small group leader in our Tuesday training group at Stanford, who specializes in the treatment of anxiety.
This is Zeina’s third appearance on our podcast. Previously she helped us with a fabulous program on family conflicts at the start of the pandemic (Corona Cast 3, 4-06-2020) and later did live some personal work on one of the Self-Defeating Beliefs, the Achievement Addiction (Podcasts 211, 10-12-2020, and 212, 10-19-2020).
Today Zeina brings us something radically different: Buddhist Strategies for Financial Abundance. What in the world does that mean, and why should you care?
She starts by describing her study of Buddhist practices, and cites some books that have inspired her, including The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life, by Geshe Michael Roach.
Zeina explains the quasi-mystical concept of “Karma,” which is the idea that you get what you give. In other words, the energy and spirit you convey to others, and to the universe, will come back to you. For example, when clients who are not a good fit for her practice contact her, Zeina goes out of her way to help those clients find a great fit with another therapist.
This “Karmic practice,” she explains, has paradoxically caused many patients to suddenly seem to show up, asking for treatment. In other words, when she meets the needs of others, the universe meets her needs.
She says that she doesn’t need to do very much at all of the kinds of traditional marketing that most other therapists do in an attempt to build their practices. This “karmic practice” has been mostly sufficient and far more effective than traditional marketing methods.
This is a theme that I (David) resonated with, since I also give away almost everything for free, and have received an abundance of positive and loving gifts from the universe in return.
Zeina cautions that this, and all Buddhist practices, must be done with balance and thoughtfulness: “When I started, I gave too much, and this can actually cause self-harm.”
She said that some people have raised the question: “But isn’t this an inherently selfish practice, since you are hoping for abundance for yourself?”
Her response to this is that when you receive financial abundance, you can give even more to others for free.
She also described another book of Geshe Michael Roach’s, The Karma of Love, where you try to give to the other person and meet their needs instead of worrying about whether they’re loving you enough or meeting your needs.
In a previous relationship, this led to inner peace and, paradoxically, she felt much more loved, although nothing observable had changed in the way her partner treated her. The change in her feeling loved all came from changes SHE made, not her partner. This aligns very closely with the TEAM-CBT approach to relationships, as well as the teachings of most religions.
We also discussed group TEAM-CBT vs. individual therapy. I described my phenomenal experiences in Philadelphia creating a large intensive group therapy program at my hospital, which was in a rough, inner city neighborhood. Most of our patients had few resources, and many could not read or write. Some were homeless. The program was more or less free to all of them, and our patients and their families gave us so much in return.
I was absolutely thrilled that Zeina also loves doing therapy in groups. Many patients and therapists alike think of group therapy as a kind of inferior approach, but my experience has been the opposite. If given the choice, I’d treat everyone in groups.
Zeina will be starting a TEAM-CBT anxiety group within a week of this podcast. The group will focus on all the anxiety disorders, such as chronic worrying, shyness, phobias, OCD, PTSD, and more. There will be one