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Minding What Matters: Psychotherapy and the Buddha Within Paperback – June 1, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aspiring to a new genre of "literary self-help," this work by psychoanalyst and Buddhist practitioner Langan requires patience. The first sentence ("People do things for different reasons, though sometimes their reasons are the same") will winnow the impatient, who will dismiss this as pretentious, from those who welcome the prospect of an intensely ruminative book. It's uniquely organized, alternating chapters written as essays on aspects of Buddhism and psychology with italicized vignettes that describe the relationship between a fictional analyst and his patient. Then follows a section of quasi-footnotes—"sources and associations"—that are difficult to correlate with the text because they are marked by asterisks, unnumbered and often woolly ("This play of shifting forms is quite the opposite of the cri de guerre of the British Victorian poet William Ernest Henley...."). Langan's free-associative writing style is appropriate for a therapy session, but becomes a little idiosyncratic in a book, as though the reader has been handed a first draft. "I can choose to assimilate you. (Resistance is futile.)" could be clever, but such allusive exposition slides past those who don't recognize the slogan of the Borg, the villainous assimilators of Star Trek. Langan is ambitious, but his literary aspirations sometimes obscure rather than illuminate his meaning. (July)
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"This jewel of a book marks the emergence of an important new voice in the field. Langan writes with the wisdom of someone steeped in the practice of both Buddhism and psychoanalysis and the sensibility of a poet. His unique literary style breathes new life into old concepts and forges fascinating and unexpected links. His writing works upon the reader in subtle ways to open up new ways of seeing things and to provide a genuinely transformative experience." (Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Psychology, New School for Social Research, and editor of Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An Unfolding Dialogue)

"This is the work of a man who rests naturally in the inner space of both healing traditions-psychoanalysis and Buddhism. Robert Langan's poetic sensibility more than captures that essential reality. This book should be read slowly, savoring what emerges quietly within. Much gratitude to the author for his rare contribution." (Christopher K. Germer, Harvard Medical School and co-editor, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy)

"These wonderfully literate, compelling, knowing pages summon the reader to wonder about life's whys and wherefores, its purposes and meanings... A shining, even entrancing vision of what it is possible to do and to be." (Robert Coles, author of the Spiritual Lives of Children)

"Robert Langan's Minding What Matters makes connections I might never have seen for myself. In his guiding hands, Dharma becomes the living practice of life itself." (Lin Jensen, author of Bad Dog! A Memoir of Love, Beauty, and Redemption in Dark Places)

"In this fascinating book Robert Langan opens up not simply the practice of psychoanlaysis, but also the writing of it. At once informative and evocative, a rare combination these days in psychoanalysis, Langan's new book turns on turns of phrase and rythmn that are often startling and always suggestive. Very few books now give psychoanalysis a chance; Minding What Matters is a wonderful and timely reminder of the romance of psychoanalysis, of what Lacan called psychoanalytic opportunity." (Adam Philips, author of Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored)

"Consider the stereotype of the seemingly all-knowing, strikingly intellectual psychoanalyst. Then consider the stereotype of the all-knowing, strikingly profound Buddhist monk or scholar. Now combine the two. What suddenly emerges is an impression of Robert Langan, author of the fantastic Minding What Matters: Psychotherapy and the Buddha Within. This book not only tells us about the many correlations between psychoanalysis and Buddhism, but also serves as a great introductory text into Buddhist thought. [ . . . ] Langan's writing style is almost like an example of Buddhism. It is very creative and flows so smoothly that the reader often feels like s/he is being led on a journey, hearing stories from a trusted elder along the way. Humility and subtle humor surround each word. [ . . . ] Langan is to be commended for producing this phenomenal, much-welcomed addition to the growing literature on psychoanalysis and Buddhism." (Division 39 Newsletter)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (June 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861713532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861713530
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,155,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By James D. McCann on January 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful read. It is an interesting mixture of objective content about both Buddhism and Psychoanalysis and poetic phraseology that actually triggers a meditative experience. I have never underlined a book so much in my life. These are just wonderfully crafted sentences that take us beyond content. I highly recommend this book for anyone on the spiritual path and any therapist helping their clients from that perspective.
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