Mark Epstein

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“After the ecstasy, it is said, comes the laundry.”

“The ego's instinctive favoring of itself is eroded by a sense of the infinite.”

“So often, within the privacy of our inner worlds, we take the difficult thing and make it worse. Our own subliminal hate speech coats our experience and gives an added layer of meaning to things that are already difficult enough.”

“Trauma is not just the result of major disasters. It does not happen to only some people. An undercurrent of it runs through ordinary life, shot through as it is with the poignancy of impermanence.”

Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself

Quotes from Epstein's most receipt book:

“It’s not what she is thinking that matters, it’s how she relates to her thoughts that will make all the difference.”

“Even with good-enough upbringing and the consolidation of what might be called a good-enough self, according to the Buddha’s logic, there will still be disquiet, confusion, and insecurity because we are all instinctively struggling to be something (independent, solid, coherent, and self-sufficient) we can never be. Even in healthy personality development, we emerge from childhood defending against the underlying truth of how contingent, provisional, and dependent we actually are. The persistence of such feelings, far from being a symptom of parental failures (even if there have been such failures), is actually the seed of wisdom. Fighting against them only rigidifies our defenses and isolates us further. Acknowledging the emptiness that frightens us, whatever its source may be, is the key to a deeper, and truer, understanding. The emptiness that we fear is not really empty. When it is successfully turned into an object of awareness, it reveals itself to be vast, luminous, and reassuringly, albeit mysteriously, alive.”

The Zen of Therapy: Uncovering a Hidden Kindness in Life


Mark Epstein's website: MARK EPSTEIN, M.D.

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