Brenner, Sayers R. (2015). Paradoxical Wisdom: Just B.E. K.I.N.D. Sarasota: Paradox Books.
Ultimate answers can be deciphered by anyone along any pathway. Enlightenment is free, indeed, but it comes at the cost of all our pain-free and Utopian illusions, a price that few are willing to pay. Life’s painful disillusionments force us into the counter-intuitive opportunity of a lifetime: to train ourselves to cultivate, instead, a taste for paradoxical insights. These poetic fusions or integrations of opposites are the closest we can get to an ecstatic harmony with what is. This changes everything! First, it enables us to expose and evade life’s intricate “con-game,” which makes fools of us all.
Moreover, we can even discover the treasure of all treasures: our own paradoxically wise inner self. Amidst our arguing inner congress of part-selves; this humble and wise self, alone, is our precious and gyroscopic crystal of resonance with the paradoxical essence of reality. It can guide us towards an inner, centered, and loving serenity we did not know we were looking for. This is an expanded “unreasonable happiness,” or “painful bliss.”
This book offers a simple seven-step mantra-mnemonic: “B.E. K.I.N.D.” (paradoxical Balance, Embracing acceptance, lovingKindness, Insight, Now, Disillusionment, and Deflation). This practical B.E. K.I.N.D. reminder serves as a cypher or tutorial which we can recite to ourselves in any moment and amidst each adversity to train ourselves to better resonate with and enjoy this exquisite cosmic symphony. Enlightenment is simply more fun.
The universe is like a safe… But the combination is locked up in the safe. Peter DeVries
Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it. Emily Dickinson
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Ranier Maria Rilke
“The secrets hidden within our self-defeat reveal surprisingly simple and paradoxical answers. Universal childhood errors of thinking unconsciously lead us to cause our own pain by pursuing mere illusions, such as pure love, perfection, certainty, security, and grandiose power. The secretly vengeful victim role perpetuates these self-defeating strivings through the unconscious, powerful, and computer-like operations of its satisfying fantasies. We recover when we give up polarized thinking, own all inner parts, accept life’s limits and pain, settle for realistic satisfactions, embrace disillusionment, forgive our lengthy folly, and accept reality as balanced and paradoxical. The secrets are acceptance, balance, compromise, deflation, and forgiveness.”
“(Dr. Brenner) examines the conscious and unconscious reasons behind masochism and exposes the secretive inner rewards of the self-defeater. Most importantly, he proposes ways toward enlightenment. I recommend this book highly.” Vamik D. Volkan, M.D.
“…a vivid picture of those who attempt to deal with their deep inner rage at an unfair parent by pursuing revenge-seeking self-defeat… Psychotherapists and their patients/clients will particularly benefit from gaining hope for recovery by learning the key to resolving this tragically common human condition.” David S. Fuller, M.D.
“Enlightenment is paradox. It uses the process of losing everything along the way towards gaining
all. Through the process, we lose our attachment to grandiose and futile fantasy-illusions, but we
gain the universe as it is…. The best way to measure enlightenment is by what we relinquish, not
by what we gain.”
“Pain is the unavoidable price of admission to growth and insight…. Paradoxically, we face and embrace pain in order to escape from it.”
“Only the victim role offers endless opportunities to pursue multiple ingredients of masochistic illusions.. [The neurotic] uses his suffering as a tool, as a means to demand it all!”
“The shadow [portion of the self] can better maintain the illusion of inflation by pursuing ‘negative
inflation,’ which is the paradoxically triumphant and [even more] grandiose pursuit of defeat,
failure, and destruction…. Negative inflation is one of the primary secrets hidden within the
enigma of self-defeat.”
“It is in the unconscious engineering of sadomasochistic scenes that the self-defeater’s true genius
emerges…. [He] teaches us something about ourselves. In reality, we are the sole playwrights of
our lives. The outside doesn’t mold us. We determine our own scenes, even if we think we’re just
“The self-defeater…will not fail to fail…. In the end, the victim wins, every time.”
“Enlightenment brings a symphony, not a new dictatorship.”
“She was a victim in search of a disaster.” (Robert Stoller)
“Failure and defeat become triumph in childhood, and a repetitive compulsion in adult life.” (Isidor Bernstein)
“This is the real meaning of the masochistic contract,… it is the victim who lays down the rules.” (Victor Smirnoff)
[The self-defeater] “wants to have a better character, a character superior to others. He is a moral climber.” (Theodor Reik)
“This [vengeful] drive can be the governing passion of a life-time to which everything is subordinated, including self-interest.” (Karen Horney)
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Part One: Building Blocks
2 Initial Errors of Logic of Infancy
3 The Ego and Superego
Part Two: The Unconscious Mind
4 The Shadow Portion of the Unconscious
5 Hurt and Angry Children of the Shadow – and Their Integration
6 The “Higher Self” Portion of the Unconscious
Part Three: Pursuit of the Illusions of Pure Love and Unending Dependency
7 The Illusion of Pure, Certain, and Unending Love
8 The Illusions of Certainty, Security, and Dependency
Part Four: Pursuit of the Illusion of Absolute Power
9 Hidden Provocation
10 Hidden Entitlement
11 The Secret Victory of the Victim Role
12 Revenge and Forgiveness
13 Pursuit of the Illusion of Absolute Power: Summary
Part Five: Fantasy and Emergence
14 Fantasy, Repetition, and Microdot
15 Changing and Resisting Change
16 In the End, Enlightenment
Dear Dr Brenner,
Very sad to let you know that my husband, Dr Edward Sanford, the love of my life, passed away on Tuesday January 16, 2018 and was buried at Beth Sholom Cemetery in Sarasota on Wednesday January 17, 2018.
Yaffa has become my emotional support now. Is there any possibility for me to see you at your earliest convenience?
Thanks in advance,
Hi Dr. Brenner,
I met you many years ago (probably 15 years or so) while I was living in Sarasota. I was a young Sarasota police officer at the time. I handled a call for service in your neighborhood and had the pleasure of speaking with you. You also gave me a copy of your book, “Suffering From Illusion.”
Reading your book was a game changer for me. Thank you so much for your generosity and wisdom. I left Sarasota and the law enforcement profession in late 2011. There has been no looking back since then. It seems like another lifetime since my law enforcement days. I’m now living in Denver, Colorado and working in a career (recruiting) that feels like a calling.
Again, thank you for crossing paths with me and for the wisdom provided in your book. Many would benefit to read your book. I’m happy to see that you’re still providing consultations. Keep up the good work and keep shining!