Sunday, February 4, 2018


friday night I braved the terrible cold in Manhattan to get down to Tibet House for Dr Mark Epsteins book launch of "Advice Not Given".

He's delightful and full of good humor. A wonderful writer, he's even better in person. Much of what he read and talked about Friday evening is in the following video recorded in 2014 elsewhere for a launch of another of his books "The Trauma of Everyday Life"
(59 minutes)
  "Trauma does not just happen to a few unlucky people; it is the bedrock of our psychology. Death and illness touch us all, but even the everyday sufferings of loneliness and fear are traumatic. In The Trauma of Everyday Life Mark Epstein uncovers the transformational potential of trauma, revealing how it can be used for the mind’s own development. Western psychology teaches that if we understand the cause of trauma, we might move past it while many drawn to Eastern practices see meditation as a means of rising above, or distancing themselves from, their most difficult emotions. Both, Epstein argues, fail to recognize that trauma is an indivisible part of life and can be used as a lever for growth and an ever deeper understanding of change. When we regard trauma with this perspective, understanding that suffering is universal and without logic, our pain connects us to the world on a more fundamental level. The way out of pain is through it. Epstein’s discovery begins in his analysis of the life of Buddha, looking to how the death of his mother informed his path and teachings. The Buddha’s spiritual journey can be read as an expression of primitive agony grounded in childhood trauma. Yet the Buddha’s story is only one of many in The Trauma of Everyday Life. Here, Epstein looks to his own experience, that of his patients, and of the many fellow sojourners and teachers he encounters as a psychiatrist and Buddhist. They are alike only in that they share in trauma, large and small, as all of us do. Dr. Epstein finds throughout that trauma, if it doesn’t destroy us, wakes us up to both our minds’ own capacity and to the suffering of others. It makes us more human, caring, and wise. It can be our greatest teacher, our freedom itself, and it is available to all of us."

Read This Article
"There is a lot of encouragement in our culture for developing a stronger sense of self. Self-love, self-esteem, self-confidence, and the ability to aggressively get one’s needs met are all that most people subscribe to. As important as these accomplishments may be, however, they are not enough to guarantee well-being. People with a strong sense of self still suffer. They may look like they have it all together, but they cannot relax without drinking or taking drugs. They cannot unwind, give affection, improvise, create, or sympathize with others if they are steadfastly focused only on themselves. Simply building up the ego leaves a person stranded. The most important events in our lives, from falling in love to giving birth to facing death, all require the ego to let go."

Book List 

Last edited on 2 January 2018-Needs update


jude said...

yes, the bedrock. oh this is so good.

Mo Crow said...

"Tending one's feelings is too difficult, like tending clouds." from "Never Without Our Chidren Cambodia 1975" by Eloise Charet-Calles