37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
a book that keeps on giving,
This review is from: Thoughts Without A Thinker: Psychotherapy From A Buddhist Perspective (Paperback)
I picked this book off the shelf in 1995, when it was published, and have read it about five times since. Although I have an advanced degree and am used to difficult books, I found it very challenging, though readable and interesting. I don't think I developed a coherent sense of the profound and helpful ideas in "Thoughts Without a Thinker" until my third or fourth read.
I'd like to thank Mark Epstein for the 20 years of experience, study, practice, thought, and compassion he put into this book. In our anti-intellectual culture it's a pleasure to read a consummately intellectual book that is packed with feeling, humanity, and a dynamic sense of purpose and discovery.
It's reductive to say what I got out of this book, and, in a way, against the spirit of the book. But what I derived from my readings is a profound argument (that has stayed with me, really helped me) for not taking myself, my "tragedies," or, even, anyone else's, too much to heart. To understand that I and my culture burden me with a sense of identity and history that are simply irrationally heavy; to understand that many of my "burdens" can be eased by blending analysis and understanding with a less rational "bare attention" and letting go.
Are you berating yourself for anything? Epstein's marvelous quotes from Buddhist texts speak eloquently for him: "Things are not what they seem. Nor are they otherwise. Deeds exist, but no doer can be found."
It's amazing how much the reviewers of this book agree with one another. I think this speaks to the tremendous integrity of Mark Epstein's effort in this book. Among other things, "Thoughts Without a Thinker" inspires me to try (as non-neurotically as possible) to create something as excellent in my life.