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Going on Being: Buddhism and the Way of Change Paperback – February 12, 2002
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Can you remember the childhood feeling of living happily moment to moment, without intrusive aims or fears? Psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott called it the state of "going on being." Bestselling author Mark Epstein sees a similarity with the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, of just watching the mind and body without holding on or pushing away. Epstein excels at finding the similarities between Buddhist meditation and psychotherapy, and he is in top form in Going On Being. Offering an autobiographical account of his own gradual discovery of this nexus, Epstein tells of his encounters with such luminaries as Ram Dass, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield, ruminating on them and then showing how his insights shed light on his work as a psychoanalyst. Ultimately, he finds that psychoanalysis can function as a kind of interpersonal meditation, helping the patient see aspects of the self that are hidden behind habitual ways of reacting to the world. Going On Being shows that, if done well, psychotherapy can offer some of the same benefits as Buddhist meditation. Eureka! --Brian Bruya --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Psychiatrist Epstein revisits territory he explored in his earlier books, Thoughts Without a Thinker and Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart. Borrowing his title and his inspiration from the British child analyst D.W. Winnicott, Epstein sets out to elucidate how Buddhist meditation can work with psychotherapy to guide people off the rocky shoals of "psychological emptiness" and into the deep flowing water of being. As in his earlier work, Epstein demonstrates a keen ability to link Buddhist ideas and practice with Winnicott's insight about the sense of psychological well-being that comes with the primal experience of "the uninterrupted flow of authentic self." Here, however, Epstein also describes his own liberation from inner emptiness, offering a memoir about his encounter with Buddhism as a Harvard student in the early 1970s. As a structuring device, he attributes different aspects of his growing Buddhist understanding to his encounters with three extraordinary teachers: Ram Dass, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield. Alas, Epstein's admirers will hunger for more meat on the bones he lays out with such care. Part of the problem is the way that Epstein breaks narrative momentum by recapping material that has appeared in more potent form elsewhere, both in his earlier books and in classics like Ram Dass's Be Here Now and Kornfield's A Path with Heart. Lucid writing and truly useful ideas abound, although the talented Epstein travels a well-worn path here.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I can see how some readers would not read and evaluate this book as highly as I do. Epstein's personal approach won't resonate with everyone. But when it does it works well, and I suspect it will resonate often and deeply enough with most readers interested in the subject matter to make this book an enjoyable and valuable read.