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 Being is Epstein’s memoir of his early years as a student of Buddhism
and of how Buddhism shaped his approach to therapy, as well as 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 “analysis 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.
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