The meaning of Eastern in this article derives from a combination of the original teachings of the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Sufism, and others as understood by me but does not mean to imply that all people in the east are this way, just the teachings. The western way is traditional psychotherapy and its assimilation into current so called spiritual and new age thoughts. This is also not to say that all westerners are that way. It does however show the difference in the cultures and the typical mentality. If you are sure you are not, ‘like that’, you probably are.
In western psychology, people dwell on the problems, the cause of the problems, rehash it, relive it and thereby keep it alive under the guise of releasing it. This can go on forever with no resolution.
In the eastern view, what is past is past and to be accepted then let go, the present is the only moment of value and the only thing we should be fully focused on. This happens in the moment.
The west is living in the past, bringing it up, very much focused on pointing the finger, putting the blame on someone and applying guilt to make them feel bad and thereby make the persons suffering lighter by having the perceived cause share the burden. This is always looking back in the past.
In the east there is an acceptance that all beings are what they are without any expectation of anyone being perfect, allowance of everyone to be flawed and human. They accept other people and themselves, due to the nature of how the mind functions and the way the world works, that acceptance allows the eastern way to look forward to the future.
In the East, there is a belief of reincarnation and karma. What one does in this life will effect the next life, this is looking forward to the future, bringing a sense of caution to the present actions.
The concept of ‘this life effects the next’ can be interpreted differently. In my view, what you do now effects you now and for the rest of this life but not necessarily externally, rather internally, mentally in some way. The determination of the effects is based on the self view of the action, not the view that society or some god may put on the actions.
The western paths do not believe or give much regard to reincarnation and karma. They follow the belief that this life is all there is so live it up, at least the non-religious ones.
It is simple logic that the one who looks backward will not see the dangers in the path ahead while the one who looks forward will be ever proceeding safely.
The western way is to make things much bigger than they are, stretching the truth to get attention. Good news or bad news, as long as there is news.
The eastern way is to see things as they are. The objective view of what things realistically are right now. As it is.
In the west, things are very important. Little things are seen as if the world depends on it, emotions are riled up and other things are neglected behind what is perceived to be so important, then it changes the next day to something else which takes the attention away from the basics.
In the east there is a saying, “This too shall pass” Why worry, you will see the world come and go, nations rise and fall, children born and elderly die, it is all normal, why get excited and miss your life in shock and horror about what is natural and unavoidable.
Western way makes it big, which really in effect inflates and fuels the ego as it tries to swing the pendulum of low self-esteem in the other direction. It goes too far in the other direction which defeats the purpose by over reacting to an imbalanced situation and merely throws it out of balance into the other direction. It does not bring it to balance.
Eastern way is by observing objective reality of what things are without exaggeration brings things into the perfect state of balance because balance is objective realty.
The western way is to have everything now, instant gratification.
The east takes time and has patience.
The west wants it now and so it takes eternity.
The east wants it in due course and it happens instantly.
The westerner does it their way, individualism is a disguise for arrogance and a lack of humility to follow the instructed path. Rather the westerner tries their own path to establish their ingenuity, again to prove that they are worthy. Some are brilliant innovators, but those are a very tiny percentage. New and improved rather than tried and proven and in the end, gains little by forever reinventing.
The easterner goes according to tradition, does what has been done successfully for thousands of years, respects the paths of their predecessors and develops skills over generations, slowly and gently but without great disasters like nuclear meltdowns.
The westerner thinks they can do it on their own.
The easterner knows that alone they are virtually helpless and seek an accomplished guide.
There is a little story I love; And American argues with an Indian and comes to say; “Who do you think you are!!!” The Indian replies; “In India sir, we don’t think who we are, we know who we are.”
A serious search must be taken seriously. Laughter lightens the load and weakens the power. There are some loads that are destroyed when made lighter. A precious parcel must be carried with serious attention or it will be broken. The most valuable teaching can be taken as a joke and laughed off, or it can be seen for all its value. The difference is in the state of the mind of the listener. The result is a life gained or lost.