Dr Norma Harris
Norma Harris, MA, PhD, MA
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 Who I am

As a chaplain, I provide spiritual counseling to people of all religions, to people who are non-religious, and to those who are atheists. I was raised in a non-religious Jewish household and have been a practicing Buddhist for 24 years. I am authorized as a Buddhist chaplain in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition.

As a Buddhist practitioner, I engage in mindfulness/awareness meditation and other types of contemplative practice on a regular basis. I am a dharma teacher at the Grant Park Meditation Center and a meditation instructor for people with any level of experience. Until recently I was a volunteer chaplain at GD&CP prison in Jackson, Georgia to teach meditation to men on death row and to visit other inmates throughout the prison. 

My prior background is as a speech-language pathologist working with children and adults, and as a psychotherapist doing play therapy with children. I have an MA in Speech-Language Pathology from George Washington University, an MA in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University, and a PhD in Human Resource Development from Georgia State University. I have trained in MBSR with John Kabat-Zinn. And I am a three-time cancer survivor.

 

My work is – 

Helping people to connect with their innate dignity and goodness as human beings and to experience the world as an extension of this goodness.

Basic human qualities possessed by all, such as generosity, mindfulness, kindness, clarity, stability of mind, and patience are not spiritual in nature; however, when people find and develop these aspects of their humanness, they often experience interconnectedness and begin to feel a difference in their own being.

Helping people as they work through pain, turmoil, weariness, grief and other difficult experiences from a spiritual perspective.

Spiritual perspective to me does not mean other-worldly, nor does it mean working with someone to fix or even improve themselves. It means helping someone recognize who they are and what their place is in the scheme of things in this life, and to relax into that by identifying what responsibilities to take and what to let be.

Helping people to navigate through the shifting territories of illness, aging, and dying by helping them to apply their own spiritual or philosophical beliefs to the fact of our impermanence.

It can be soothing and inspiring to tell it like it is whatever it is, and to then discover bravery as well as a sense of humor. This, I believe, is what constitutes sanity.

Helping people to have an experiential understanding of what we are.

We are more than our thoughts, conceptions, and emotions. What might that be?