The bestselling author of Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart combines a memoir of his own journey as a student of Buddhism and psychology with a powerful message about how cultivating true self-awareness and adopting a Buddhist understanding of change can free the mind.
“Meditation was the vehicle that opened me up to myself, but psychotherapy, in the right hands, has similar potential. It was actually through my own therapy and my own studies of Western psychoanalytic thought that I began to understand what meditation made possible. As compelling as the language of Buddhism was for me, I needed to figure things out in Western concepts as well. Psychotherapy came after meditation in my life, but it reinforced what meditation had shown me.”
Before Mark Epstein became a medical student at Harvard and began training as a psychiatrist, he immersed himself in Buddhism through experiences with such influential Buddhist teachers as Ram Dass, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield. The positive outlook of Buddhism and the meditative principle of living in the moment came to influence his study and practice of psychotherapy profoundly. Going on Beingis Epstein’s memoir of his early years as a student of Buddhism and of how Buddhism shaped his approach to therapy. It is also a practical guide to how a Buddhist understanding of psychological problems makes change for the better possible.
In psychotherapy, Epstein discovered a vital interpersonal parallel to meditation, but he also recognized Western psychology’s tendency to focus on problems, either by attempting to eliminate them or by going into them more deeply, and how this too often results in a frustrating “paralysis of analysis.” Buddhism opened his eyes to another way of change. Drawing on his own life and stories of his patients, he illuminates the concept of “going on being,” the capacity we all have to live in a fully aware and creative state unimpeded by constraints or expectations.
By chronicling how Buddhism and psychotherapy shaped his own growth, Mark Epstein has written an intimate chronicle of the evolution of spirit and psyche, and a highly inviting guide for anyone seeking a new path and a new outlook on life.