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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to overcome depression through meditation
I have finally found a way, through this book, to stop negative thoughts from constantly bombarding my mind. This book is invaluable to those of us who suffer from "excessive thinking" as the author would put it. If you suffer from depression and negative thinking (depressive thoughts, angry thoughts, constant obsessive thinking about bad people and unpleasant...
Published on May 21, 1999

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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unlike "Thoughts Without a Thinker" this is not a must read
I enjoyed this book in part because it provided an interweaving of two of my favorite topics: Buddhist spirituality and psychology. In first couple of chapters Mr. Epstein makes some interesting comparisons between modern psychology and Buddhist mediation. It further aligns some strengths of psychology with Buddhist teachings and insights gained through mediation...
Published on March 9, 1999


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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to overcome depression through meditation, May 21, 1999
By A Customer
I have finally found a way, through this book, to stop negative thoughts from constantly bombarding my mind. This book is invaluable to those of us who suffer from "excessive thinking" as the author would put it. If you suffer from depression and negative thinking (depressive thoughts, angry thoughts, constant obsessive thinking about bad people and unpleasant situations), then try this book. Its techniques, if followed, will be a great relief. I cried when I read certain sections, because I finally understood the root of my negative thoughts and how to deal with them. Thank you, Dr. Epstein.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Taking the sting out of emptiness, June 1, 2005
By 
Michael J. Warby "lorenzo" (Kingsville, VIC Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
Having spent years suffering high levels of emotional pain, Buddhism was naturally a possible solution. But the typical Western summary of its path as `giving up desire' put me off: to give up desire struck me as to give up being human. A couple of years ago, I bought at a country newsagent Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness by psychiatrist Mark Epstein. The book is simply about buddhism-as-psychology - as far as I can see, what it has to say is compatible with any religious tradition. I read it, and then re-read it. Thinking about what it had to say changed my perspective and effectively banished my pain. I was suffering an emptiness that I did not see as emptiness but as lack - in my case, a lack of intimate love and the deeper fear that lack was just. This book enabled me to see what I was suffering was emptiness, to embrace that emptiness and to have it no longer cause me pain. I came to feel whole; I feel more human not less.

I am also much calmer, far fewer things irritate me, I laugh more. Situations of stress are much easier to handle. I have a pervasive feeling of triumph and a confidence that there is much more to discover.

Reading Epstein's book meant that Gurdjieff's notion of the need to fight against sleep, the sleep of what the mind can do but normally doesn't, makes much more sense to me nowadays. Though it seems to me Gurdieff was fumbling towards much that was already in the Buddhist tradition.

This book is clearly written. The Freudian content is higher than I am comfortable with, but has the advantage of being based on Freud's original writings, Freud being a more complex and subtle thinker than his disciples (as is so often the way with founders of schools of thought). What it has to say is very perceptive and useful even for someone who does not accept Freudian ideas. Highly recommended.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reasoned paen to meditative Buddhism and psychotherapy, August 4, 2003
By 
Tanya Gupta (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
Mark Epstein is remarkable in that his writing has a distinctly spiritual note, even while he is talking in scientific terms and refraining from engaging in a discourse of religion. "Going to pieces without falling apart" is an apt name for this book because it talks about the paradoxical nature of Buddhist meditation i.e. through the disintegration of the self and the ego you integrate yourself with all that is living. There is a simple poem that is quoted in this book that describes this process of falling apart and then coming together through an analogy about how a meditator sees mountains and rivers before nirvana and then all is changed during nirvana and then he sees mountains and rivers again. Epstein writes about how Buddhist meditation principles can be used in psychotherapy. In fact many principles are already being used, but without acknowledgement of the resemblance. He describes how Freud instructs therapists to listen to the patient in a careful non- judgmental way, very much like what Buddhist meditation ideally is - i.e. non-judgmental observation of all your thoughts and actions. Buddhism, however, goes beyond traditional therapy by working with the feeling of isolation we all have to actually finding a more satisfying answer than merely learning to cope. In conclusion, highly recommended for its focus on Buddhist meditation practices and links to psychology but if you are looking for the religious aspects of Buddhism this is not for you.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going To Pieces and AA, August 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
The idea's expressed in this book are not at all incompatible with those of Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the idea's in this book dovetail nicely with the AA philosophy of finding oneself through self-forgetting, or getting out of oneself, rather than the usual psychotherpy method of just building up oneself through endless analaysis. After 10 minutes of meditation, really just doing nothng, which I found to be quite difficult, I discovered just how wild my mind really is. This is a great book for those of us in AA who are just now discovering that getting to know ones own mind is the ulitimate altered state of conciousness. Oh no, Mark, I best not get attached to that thought!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't have explained it better, February 10, 2003
By 
"sekelly5" (Stamford, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
I have been suffering from anxiety/depression and feelings of emptiness for 6 years since I went through a particularly stressful event. I have only read as far as chapter 3 but already I can see that this is the first self help book I have read (and I have read quite a few) that really hits the nail on the head and left me thinking "This is it. If only I had known that 6 years ago". It seems amazing to me that a person can understand the human mind so clearly and lay it out in a logical manner for a layman to understand. When I comeplete the book I will get back to you on what I thought of his practical implementation of the solution to the problem. I just wanted to get this out there for people to read now as if you are feeling any of the things I noted above then this book is the best place to start in my opinion.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unlike "Thoughts Without a Thinker" this is not a must read, March 9, 1999
By A Customer
I enjoyed this book in part because it provided an interweaving of two of my favorite topics: Buddhist spirituality and psychology. In first couple of chapters Mr. Epstein makes some interesting comparisons between modern psychology and Buddhist mediation. It further aligns some strengths of psychology with Buddhist teachings and insights gained through mediation practice.
As the book went on, however, it became apparent that the author sought to write about Buddhist practice, sprinkled here and there with thoughts about psychology. Not that writing about Buddhism is a bad thing its just not a new thing. And for my money, Mr. Epstein did a more than admirable job of writing about Buddhism in his first book, "Thoughts Without a Thinker." I wanted more of a balance between western psychology and Buddhist practice, not more of the same. I was also a little lost by the excerpts taken from D.W. Winnicott and how they related to the points being made in the text.
Altogether not a bad read, just not a great one either.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good start, too wordy mid-way, April 29, 2007
By 
This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
I actually feel a tad guilty for giving this book a three.

The first third to half of the book is excellent, well written and clearly descriptive. I had a few moments of incredible clarity, and would enjoy listening to the author lecture.

Unfortunately, my own reading experience became drab. I was exhausted from this book - and have yet to finish reading it despite purchasing over a year ago. I tend to read books within several days to a week. If it isn't read withint a month, it is unlikely to be finished.

And unfortunately, i felt "burnt out" and cannot even stand to pick this book back up. I have tried several times, but found it, perhaps, whiny...

I think a condensed version would be an ideal substitute...
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provides new insights into nature of sexuality and intimacy., September 27, 1998
By A Customer
This book of Epstein's seemed a lot more helpful and useful than his more theoretical "Thoughts Without a Thinker." I felt her recast many of the old Buddhist stories in a very new light that make them sparkle again. His intertwining of psychoanalysis with meditation was brilliant especially his demonstration that both are complementary and that one can get stuck in either mode. Finally, his analysis of how our selves resist disintegration even in sexuality and interpersonal intimacy rings so true! Epstein comes across as so human, so struggling and yet so wise. I felt the gentle touch of a caring counselor throughout the book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going through a crisis? Try this book!, June 5, 2008
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This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
About 1/2 year ago I went through what might be called an existential or mid-life crisis (depending on who you ask).

I found the insights and viewpoints in this book to be very helpful in getting a different way of looking at the same bad situation that I was dealing with.

I do tend to gravitate towards Buddhism, and this book uses it a lot. But I think that Buddhist philosophy has a lot of valuable insight into dealing with internal conflict and crisis.

If I was asked to come up with a single sentence to describe this book, it would be "this book taught me how to be OK with not being OK."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going to pieces in a good way, March 27, 2007
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This review is from: Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Paperback)
As usual I found Epstein's work to be brilliant at capturing concepts from Buddhism and psychotherapy and showing their relevance to everyday life. As I read through this book and integrated the concepts he discussed in it, I found myself pausing more to just feel and let that moment be enough. And that's really what Epstein offers in this book, a chance to pause and mindfully reflect on the moment, a chance to learn that going to pieces doesn't mean you have to fall apart, but that it can be a positive experience.

My only complaint would be that his work is so self intensive sometimes that it doesn't focus much on the mindful interaction that can occur with other people. Given that his background is that of a therapist, this isn't too surprising or unexpected, but some balance would be nice.

Still I feel like I came away from this book with a better knowledge of myself and an awareness of how to be more mindful in my interactions.
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Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
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