Falling to pieces

While I was away in Colombia, my travel reading was Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness (Broadway Books, 1999) by Mark Epstein. I had read his book Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist perspective and was impressed with his approach to giving insight into life’s threads, knots and tangles. He is a New York City-based therapist and is one of the teachers at the New York Insight Meditation Center.

I managed to get through the whole book (181 pages) by the end of my meeting thanks to Epstein’s effortless writing style and the compelling content. He illustrates his central theme drawing on his own personal path of discovery and on his patients’ case histories. A saving grace of the book is that Epstein does not bite off too much by trying to be an authoritative text on Buddhism, meditation, patient-centered therapy or any other big concept. He is not selling a particular theory or political line. Instead, he argues that we need to relax into the flow of life, rather than lock into an attempt to control our experience or accumulate pieces of self-improvement until we have attained perfection.

Since I finished reading the book about four weeks ago, I’m trying to reconstruct what I found most rewarding in the book — without re-reading the book again. I am going to do some scratch writing off-line before posting it here.