Dr. Mark Epstein returns to the Mindrolling Podcast for a conversation that touches on the topics of emptiness, untangling our self-narrative and working with the fear that comes with impermanence and surrender.
Links from this episode: East Forest x Ram Dass | Eros the Bittersweet by Anne Carson
Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart
When we work with the tendencies of the ego, how often do we end up suppressing what makes our incarnation special too? Raghu and Dr. Epstein talk about finding respect for our own personality and understanding emptiness.
“The preciousness of the human birth and how many lifetimes we have struggled to achieve this particular body and mind is not something to be taken lightly. Rather, it is something to come to a place of respecting and honoring. The same way that we may have an easier time doing for a person we love.” – Dr. Mark Epstein
The Way Out Is Through (12:40)
As we learn to sit with our most uncomfortable emotions through meditative practice, those difficult emotions become the doorway through which the heart opens. Mark and Raghu reflect on the teachings of Ram Dass that explain why it is that “Only nobody gets free.” Mark speaks about his history with Ram Dass, sharing the moment with Ram Dass that began a loosening of Marks identification with his own emotions.
“After first becoming nobody, I had to learn to hold that sense of somebody. I had to do this in order to be a useful person in the world.” – Dr. Mark Epstein
The Surrender to Unknowing (25:45)
We explore the fear that comes along with surrender to life’s biggest mysteries. Raghu and Mark talk about surrendering into the moment and cultivating trust in ourselves.
“This is something we do not talk about a lot, loss of control and surrender. It has a bunch of stuff that is not appealing to Westerners.” – Raghu Markus
Thoughts Without A Thinker (36:50)
What path can we take to untangle our self-narrative without losing ourselves completely? Mark looks at how meditative practice and therapy both provide the space for us to hold our difficult emotions more lightly. In holding these emotions lightly we are loosening the grip they have over us.
“It is a creative construction, even the story is a creative construction from deep within. Even while you are learning to disidentify with the narrative, it is important to respect and honor the energy that went into the creation of it. So much of the self is bound up in that. Not just the illusory self, but the creative self that is trying to find its way home.” – Dr. Mark Epstein
Terror and Delight of Pure Expression (45:10)
We close with a reflection on our need to warm up to the reality of impermanence. Dr. Epstein speaks about our aversion to change and how spiritual practice allows us to hold the truth of impermanence without fear. He looks at the valuable lessons that passion and sexual relationships can teach us about the spiritual path.
Explore the intersection of Buddhist practice and Western psychotherapy with Dr. Mark Epstein on Ep. 19 of the Be Here Now Network’s Guest Podcast
Almost every family and parent-child relationship is first conceived with the intention of love and respect. And although we think, as parents, that it is our responsibility to mold and shape our children’s future. The reality is often far more complex and multi-layered. The premise of Conscious Parenting is that our children are born to us to create deep internal transformation within us.
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