Shahar Lion: I was introduced to this book by Amy Mathews years ago in one of the advanced teachers workshops. It was written by Mark Epstein, M.D., a psychiatrist who wrote several books about the connection between Buddhism and psychotherapy.
This connection has fascinated me since my first Vipassana, a 10 days silent meditation retreat in the late 90’s taught by S.N. Goanka. In Vipassana, I experienced the link between Buddhism and psychotherapy, which motivated me to deepen my studies and eventually inspired me to become a holistic therapist, more then a decade after later.
This is one of my favorite books because it describes the subtle intersection between western psychology and Buddhism. Epstein and I share similar approaches working with our clients, based on meditation and concepts that were developed by the english analyst D.W. Winnicott. Similarly to Epstein, I integrate those two lenses to better understand my clients, myself, and how to help others to develop their sense of true self.
YCNYC: Favorite quote?
SL: “…without a method of looking into emptiness, most of us are at risk of becoming overwhelmed by fear. In meditation, there is such a method for looking into emptiness without being overtaken by the fear of disconnection from the past”. (p.20)
YCNYC: What one person would you recommend this book to?
SL: I would recommend this book to someone who is curious to explore the depths of the self. It's also great for therapists, meditators and yoga instructors.
YCNC: What moment or part resonates with you the most?
SL: One of many moments that resonated with me in this book was the part where Epstein identifies himself as a coach (rather than a therapist) who teaches people “how to venture into their own unexperienced feelings” and to give people a permission and encouragement to find and expand the capacity “to bear the unknowability of the self”. Overcoming the fear of experiencing sadness or emptiness is very empowering . I feel exactly the same while I work with clients in therapeutic settings and in my Yoga classes.
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