Attributes of The Zen of Therapy PDF
The Zen of Therapy PDF-“A warm, profound and cleareyed memoir. . . this wise and sympathetic book’s lingering effect is as a reminder that a deeper and more companionable way of life lurks behind our self-serious stories.”—Oliver Burkeman, New York Times Book Review
A remarkable exploration of the therapeutic relationship, Dr. Mark Epstein reflects on one year’s worth of therapy sessions with his patients to observe how his training in Western psychotherapy and his equally long investigation into Buddhism, in tandem, led to greater awareness—for his patients, and for himself
For years, Dr. Mark Epstein kept his beliefs as a Buddhist separate from his work as a psychiatrist. Content to use his training in mindfulness as a private resource, he trusted that the Buddhist influence could, and should, remain invisible. But as he became more forthcoming with his patients about his personal spiritual leanings, he was surprised to learn how many were eager to learn more. The divisions between the psychological, emotional, and the spiritual, he soon realized, were not as distinct as one might think.
In The Zen of Therapy, Dr. Epstein reflects on a year’s worth of selected sessions with his patients and observes how, in the incidental details of a given hour, his Buddhist background influences the way he works. Meditation and psychotherapy each encourage a willingness to face life’s difficulties with courage that can be hard to otherwise muster, and in this cross-section of life in his office, he emphasizes how therapy, an element of Western medicine, can in fact be considered a two-person meditation. Mindfulness, too, much like a good therapist, can “hold” our awareness for us—and allow us to come to our senses and find inner peace.
Throughout this deeply personal inquiry, one which weaves together the wisdom of two worlds, Dr. Epstein illuminates the therapy relationship as spiritual friendship, and reveals how a therapist can help patients cultivate the sense that there is something magical, something wonderful, and something to trust running through our lives, no matter how fraught they have been or might become. For when we realize how readily we have misinterpreted our selves, when we stop clinging to our falsely conceived constructs, when we touch the ground of being, we come home.
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Illustrations of The Zen of Therapy PDF
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Dr. Mark Epstein is a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy, including Advice Not Given, The Trauma of Everyday Life, Thoughts without a Thinker and Going to Pieces without Falling Apart. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Harvard University.
Proportions of The Zen of Therapy PDF
- Publisher : Penguin Press (January 11, 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- International Standard Book Number-10 : 0593296613
- International Standard Book Number-13 : 978-0593296615
- Item Weight : 1.07 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.68 x 1.09 x 9.54 inches
- Book Name The Zen of Therapy PDF
Reviews From Customers
“A warm, profound and cleareyed memoir . . . this wise and sympathetic book’s lingering effect is as a reminder that a deeper and more companionable way of life lurks behind our self-serious stories.” —Oliver Burkeman, New York Times Book Review
“Epstein draws on a lifetime of personal and professional experience to deliver a profound and optimistic examination of the links between psychotherapy and meditation . . . A warm and accessible explanation of topics that defy easy explanation . . . Epstein makes abstract concepts understandable, and his accounts of his patients’ struggles and progress are laced with humor and hope . . . It’s a message receptive readers will embrace in these dark and difficult times. Empathetic and persuasive—one of the better books on psychotherapy and meditation in recent years.” —Kirkus (starred review)
I first tried to meditate during the summer of 1973, between my sophomore and junior years of college, when I was working as a research assistant for a cardiologist at Boston City Hospital. This physician, Dr. Herbert Benson, a specialist in the treatment of high blood pressure, or hypertension, was the first to publish a scientific paper about the relaxation benefits of Transcendental Meditation, made popular by the Beatles several years earlier. His coauthor, Robert Keith Wallace, was a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian guru who popularized TM, and together Benson and Wallace were among the first to show that meditation had measurable physiological effects. According to their studies, meditation slowed the body’s metabolic rate, reducing both oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide output, inducing what they called a “wakeful hypometabolic state.” In essence, they suggested that meditation flipped the nervous system into neutral, allowing the body to rest, digest, recuperate, and recharge. They christened these bodily effects “the relaxation response” (the antidote to the stress-induced fight-or-flight response) and suggested that its regular elicitation might actually lower blood pressure as well as relieve stress. Meditation was given scientific credence by their research. It was a real thing, not just someone’s wishful thinking, and it had the potential to become an important tool of modern medicine. This research became the basis for The Relaxation Response, a popular book Dr. Benson published in 1975 that was among the first to suggest the health benefits of meditation.
I was intrigued by this work and met with Dr. Benson at the behest of my father, who had recently taken over as chairman of the department of medicine of which Dr. Benson was a part. I think it was an effort on my father’s part to keep me in the medical fold despite my burgeoning interest in what he considered a rather esoteric pursuit. I had become intrigued by Eastern thought in general and Buddhism in particular in my first years of college and regularly perused the spiritual bookstores then popular in Harvard Square. At the university itself Eastern spirituality was looked down upon, but I had stumbled upon two graduate students, one in the religion department and one in psychology, who quietly encouraged my nascent interests. Diana Eck, who went on to become a distinguished professor of religion, the first female “master” of a Harvard house, and the author of a comprehensive book on the Indian holy city of Banaras, was my section person in a freshman world religion class, and Daniel Goleman, who later wrote Emotional Intelligence and who had already been to India to learn about meditation, was my section leader for a second-year class in psychophysiology. They each, in their own discreet ways, supported my pursuits, while being careful to shield their own spiritual leanings from the greater Harvard milieu. Meditation was not yet something I had tried for myself, however; I was still in an exploratory phase, suspicious of cultish atmospheres and without any formal instruction. I had read books about meditation but had never tried it myself. That Dr. Benson’s influences were Hindu and not Buddhist meant little to me at the time.
In the year or two since publishing his research on meditation, Dr. Benson had broken away from the Maharishi. He concluded that there was nothing special in Transcendental Meditation’s approach, that a generic form of meditation could work just as well as the expensive training offered by the guru and his disciples, and that it was up to him to bring meditation into the medical armamentarium. Dr. Benson decided that the Sanskrit mantra at the heart of TM’s approach was not essential and that the simple act of alertly concentrating one’s attention, using whatever word, phrase, or prayer a person chose, could evoke an identical physiological response. For the patients in his hypertension clinic, he used the blandest word he could think of: the word “one.” (Only later did he realize all of its potentially sacred meanings.) Needless to say, his appropriation of TM’s technique earned him the enmity of the guru and his followers. At the same time, despite the widespread media attention given to his research, his mainstream academic colleagues treated him as a rather marginal figure because of his embrace of meditation. It might be okay for the Beatles, but a Harvard cardiologist should know better; that was the general consensus. They pressed him on the quality of his research and upbraided him for drawing sensational conclusions from preliminary findings. As a result, despite his growing fame, Dr. Benson was a rather isolated figure when I met him. He felt misunderstood and inappropriately judged by both his medical and meditative peers.
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