« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#172: Mark Epstein, Combining Buddhism and Western Psychotherapy

2019-01-29
If it were not for this week's guest, Dan Harris may never have found meditation. Mark Epstein, M.D. is a psychiatrist and the author of a number of books about the interface of Buddhism and psychotherapy. Dr. Epstein discovered Buddhism at a young age and says he saw therapy as very Buddhist, making it a natural transition. He explains how the traditions, when used together, can lead to spiritual and psychological growth. Have a question for Dan? Leave us a voicemail at 646-883-8326. The Plug Zone Website: http://markepsteinmd.com/ Books: http://markepsteinmd.com/?cat=2
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see the ten percent happier vodka in her, having a job. The other day, with my long time, colleague and friend, our chief anchor here at ABC News, George Deaf Novelist, who had just come back from his holiday breakin one of the books he read and really enjoyed on that break was called advice not given by Doktor Mark Epstein AUS really excited to hear that was. I love that book and I love the guy who wrote it even more doktor mark is a repeat guest on this package. We don't do that often, but he he absolute, Lee warrants. It read ten percent happier, you know a little bit about mark. I read about him quite a bit in in that book. He rode a what was, I think, the fur look I ever read on meditation and on Buddhism called going to pieces without falling apart, which was a gift from my wife, and
This is an over used phrase, but to use it anyway, cuz it happens to be apt in this case, changed my life and I called him up and especially asked him if he would be my friend and that began a year's long. Set of conversations that really a big effect on my mind and of my life, and I wrote about them extensively in ten percent happier. And so he's out with a new book, which is just on paper back, it's called advice, not given, unlike his like all of his books, it this one's fantastic. It's a little bit more personal he talks a lot. I take you into the room as he does therapy. Is a doctor mark is a Psychiatrist too, has a private practice here in New York City and also a long time practicing, but is in fact he got into Buddhism before he got, went to med school and and became a shrink, but he really in this book advice not given takes you into
that the room as he as he's doing therapy talks a lot about why he held back from talking about Buddhism and meditation with his patients for a long time. Talks about mistakes he's made in therapy talks about the death of his other the nature of his own inner critic. Ways for all of us to manage our egos. The voices in the voice in our heads talks a lot about, the role that Buddhism has played personally in his life, and he Got some criticisms of the modern mindfulness movement which I happened to share so a lot there with mark, and you know I just. I think this will come through in the interview, but I give him and his work the heartiest of endorsements, if you like this podcast, and maybe, if you like, that Emerson happier operating the books at I've written. He is in many ways the sinnate one of, if not the sort of most important causes and conditions for all this to come about
because I had I not met him. I dont think I would have gotten is deeply into meditation and Buddhism is I've. Substance subsequently become In fact, I ran into mark recently, at the end of I was in the last day of meditation retreat up in Central Massachusetts at the incitement to society mark was, unlike the first or second day of his an ice ran into my eye, was taking a walk and he was taking a walk as we sort of broken rolls and I got a hug and we were chatting for just a quick second, and I mention to him. You know I wouldn't be here I can't imagine a situation which I would have ended up on a meditation retreat me given my history and proclivities were not for his books and his friendship. So yeah he's a a big figure in my life and I think you're going to get a lot out of this interview. So that's first a few items of business. One is just a reminder. The voice males are now at the end of the show. We started that last week. This is gonna, be the way we're gonna. Do it going for
and also, as I know, has been promising this for a while, but will get to a pretty soon in the future. Won't be me answering the questions, but this week, you're stuck Let me also the couple new things in the ten percent happier app to new meditation their one from or in sulphur, which is by falling asleep or in one of our most popular teachers. Also from the one. What are the newer additions to the app Jessica Morey, who is phenomenal? A she's got one, a new one on their called waking up, and I do want to give a big shout out to a woman who plays a big role in producing the show Tiffany. Oh my hundred g does a lot of work, editing the show and getting it into an into shape, and so I owe all of us here in the New York Office was deeply appreciate, her work and she had a baby last week. So I want to give a big shout out to her and congratulations to her and her family a couple a on mark before we get into this, so
He is, as I said before, he says I catch is psychiatrist and private practice here in New York, city has written a nun of books, including thoughts without a thinker, the aforementioned going to pieces without falling, art going on being open to desire. These are really beautiful books in the latest, which is, as I said, just now, paperback is called it it's not given. I do want to mention that this was required. Create a while ago. We held it four minutes, so you you will hear a reference in the present tense too Arizona, Senator John Mccain, who has of course unfortunately passed since then. But so don't let that be too jarring that just a reflection of the fact that this was taped a little while ago all right enough of my raving on and on about mark. You can fall in love with him for yourself here and if we do not go too much into his personal by,
biography to Allison Way often do with people's walking through their lives if you're interested in that go back and check out his first interview with us, but there's a lot here a lot here. So here we go, here's mark, Epstein my sue, wonderful, you get your summer haircut, yup, that's gotta, Pee He's gotta looks oh the new book I felt I was. She will force and rowing. I actually think him. I'm hasn't save my favorite of your books because I loved all the books I want you to love the for more, but I cannot do laws one more. It feels more personal to me and my right about that I tried to write it spoken voice You know I wanted it to becoming really from may not From my mind, if that makes and so the word on it's not
written in a dense or semi dance conceptual way where I'm trying to Figure out concepts: it's written fat written from an experience or place with that, I'm just trying to communicate the way I would, if I was talking out loud in all areas, fell to me a little bit knowing you personally and then it being an avid reader of your books that, as Your authorial voice has held something back figured this book. I didn't feel that were good for evil. We may personally, you might feel, like my personal voices holding something back, but at times a time then sometimes it all going. That's why I'm issued at work, but so youth did. You was that it was at a decision on your part. Like ok, I'm gonna, I'm gonna come let it go on this one. Well, I didn't know what the book was. Gonna, be
and I started writing it. I've really writing it a couple of years. Before it took shape- and I started writing it by But you know only right one day a week I didn't know what my subject material was gonna, be so I would just come. To my dad, s gun that one day and try to write something real about what had happened in the office or about what had happened in my life for what had happened, retreat or what I was thinking about. What I was feeling I tried to write a page accumulated about of material, some of which went into the I have a lot of other bits and pieces that didn't make it into the book, but somewhere down the line. I got the idea of a further title,
advice not given. I was on a meditation retreat and I was thinking about my father who had passed away a couple of years before and then I was thinking about my patients who I was saddened, not not always so forthcoming, where, as you have already indicated above my my buddhist leanings and then the phrase nice not given sort of came down into my mind- and I thought- oh that's a good title for the book- ever had a different subtitle furrow for a while, but and then some months, some time later, I I thought. Oh, the eight full path that could work as the structuring device in area after explain what they full patted, the Hold path? Is restructuring devise a good are used in his fourth noble truth to explain the both the path, in too nervous, enlightenment, awakening and the path out of,
Her enlightenment awakening This has for noble truth, not to get lost in this, but the first truth is like the problem. Furthermore, the disease, the illness, which is unsatisfactory nurse or duke, are suffering. The second truth is, the cause of the disease which is clinging or craving or thirst or ego or attachment her. Ah various words have been put on it, the third Is there a secure, witches, enlightenment or Nirvana are blowing out the craving or awakening, and the fourth truth is the eightfold path. So why does the fourth truth? You know come after that Truth. Why? The way to the release wiser, given afterwards, because just a glimmer of awakening, I think, doesn't necessarily cure. You have everything you have to use that too,
but a handle on yourself in a continuous way. So the eightfold path is not just about meditation. Only three eighths of it is about meditate. The other five aids are about your can actual understanding of what's real and what's important in life. Those are the first to in the next three are like. Ethical behaviour, all kinds of things right speech, right action, right livelihood. So I go into a whole thing about? Why right does right imply wrong? I don't think so The boot, as were the word, the booty used, wasn't right, like we say right and wrong was more like right, like if something's crooked, put a it in a Some people use realistic or now I'm even thinking real. You know, like the point of all this,
to be more real, so anyway, we could go on about that, but tat. It came to me that I could structure the book using their full path. Eight chapters, and then I had to fit all the little bits that I in writing. You now. Which ones would go well with right speech and which ones would go away where the right motivation, and which ones would go well, right, mindfulness and then I had to write yeah, you know what things have made more sense than to have that explained a little bit about. I was trying to read Turk read those SAM aspects of the eightfold path instead of the classical one of rights, be meaning dont gas up, don't say, nasty things about someone to about it more as right speech could be how we talk to ourselves. So what you sometimes called the inner Craddock. You know right speeches like now putting yourself down all the time or not putting down
down your parents all the time. In your mind, enjoy your wife for your husband or your children, or you know it's how you talk to yourself really matters so that that kind of reinterpretation of things. Why do you think you held back you're Buddhistic leanings, from better you from your patient, well. I didn't Ba you know like us, Gene therapy store a jewish therapists, I mean imagine if it was like. If you went to a fair less than they were, laying a couple thing on you or you know telling you to prey or whatever I think, it's very different I know you think it's very different, but but you didn't always think it was very different x. Right I would have been a time when you would have been the last thing. You want I'll write, you would have let yourself do you know that I just I should have met you earlier. You did me made earlier
I mean much earlier well, you might have seen me not recognise that rain UNESCO. But anyway I would have been in hiding So I really wanted to be a therapist. You know I I deep into Buddhism before turning towards A career as a psychiatrist, so had that in May I'm Buddhism, Wellington call in college eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old, so I had a good seventy There is also of That was really my primary thing and then I took the primary courses that I've been taken collar. And went to medical school with the idea of becoming a psychiatrist. I was, I think they were the people in my medical school class out of a hundred and however many who wanted to be a psychiatrist, but I had agenda and I really wanted to learn how to do that. Right.
Oh right, Farrabee away. That was right for me. And allow out of that is not giving advice advice not given its not leading with what the therapist thinks the person should do because often the person whose info Araby doesn't even quite understand for a long time why there in therapy, what's really causing the anxiety that brought them or what the real the issue, or sometimes people who were sexually molested when they were young. I don't wanna talk about it, don't even really remember it for a while, you know so: therapist has to be patient and a therapist has to wait and a therapist has to me space and that all seemed very buddhist me. I learned how to do that for myself through meditation and
that seem very natural as a therapist, so instructing my patience in the four noble truths or the eightfold path, or how to be more for all that seemed unnecessary. I was more trusted in creating an environment for them in which they could say whatever they were experiencing without feeling shame or without. Being embarrassed, you know So that's a lot that's a beautiful thing. We feel if one can make that happen for somebody so that was primarily my focus and then after I started writing books and so on. People would come specifically because They thought. Oh, maybe I had some other expertise, you know being Buddhist therapist gave me a leg up in some way and so
people asked specifically about where the where to go and retreat with who the good teachers were, how to learn to meditate, and I would often help guide them maybe talk a little bit. Out at, but mostly introduce them to people who could be that for them. And other people started coming, who had a lot of meditative experience, but still really needed therapy help and with those people. I could engage more in Dharuma conversations to try to get at where they were misunderstanding. In my view, various aspects of the Buddhist path in using it defensively too high. From you, no more areas in themselves that made them uncomfortable. Sometimes that's referred to a spiritual bypass. The I think, that's hi, one one phrase that's been put on it: yeah spiritual bypass spirit,
Materialism would be another one, nor the whole thing in Buddhism about the cause of Duke the cause of suffering is desire. You know so a lot of time. Who were had not play to stamp out their desire, but felt like that was the point. You know what end up in therapy and need some encouragement to. You know like it's. Ok to reach out to other people, sometimes you know Did you feel looking back now that you should have shared more of your way? You know Buddhism and meditation. I sort of think, like you know this is more the right time, like I'm more I'm steady and my work and more conference and about what do for someone in therapy and that I can also talk.
About Buddhism and not interfere with the therapy and that the two can work together in a way that I've always written about that they could work together, but now I'm a little more in twisted in acts actual Isaac Map for people Are you do now? You will bring it up in a way that you wouldn't sometimes some some. I will now yeah what what's the variable? where the person is. I mean I think still taking my major cues from from the person what they might need, but I'll flowed it for people, you know if their way king up at night because they're anxious, you know, like that's a good time, actually the middle of the night, to sit yourself up and do a little matter, shut or there I mean or interesting thing is where to really.
See where people are holding on cling. Kind of way you know to be able to as a therapist point That out to them kind of, as is happening in the office that feels like really putting the buddhist psychology into practice. Because clinging when you see it clearly liberates itself that's the whole thing ray of meditation that once you see a clearly There's something in the person that wants to be free of it even while instinctively were all doing it. Well, I think that's worth exploring. I think that that that'll be That'll sound like it's in the neighbourhood of truth to people, but people may need some help figuring out exactly how that were yeah I'll. Throw us
a personal example out you're coming from other saying what describing what you're describing, but for me one of the big things that idea with a meditation is. Am I doing this right? You know, I'm I'm I'm terrible meditate her these pre common issue from editors and. There's one really powerful way to deal with it, which is to make a nice little mental note of doubt who not doubt in the positive sense like a journalist. So it's nice to be sceptical I mean doubt in the negative, in the majority of like the quicksand, completely stifling force of self questioning. Was, and when I see oh yeah, no, I'm just getting wrapped the story is endless. Somebody recently used the term that I, like a term that I, like think hole. Cole of doubt, if I just said most of this. Just doubt your entire suggest, I'm liberal,
made from the doubt just in the seeing of it does that come close to describing what you're describing well that that approach that approaches I thank you and I have both been trained by Joseph Goldstein, whose we are one of the great american teachers of Passanha inside meditation. And the traditional buddhist psychology that comes along with the way Joseph teaches says, there are five hindrance. Is that arise? When you try to concentrate the mind, you know: greed hatred. Worry and agitation, slav and torpor, and doubt so he's taught you. You know And that kind of loop of fire- I'm not doing this. He's. Taught you to say: that's doubt. You know
two in saying that to back off of the involvement with the story that you're telling yourself so for that, one way to work with it and it does work dislike you're, saying when you when you back off from at it. You know dissolves, often and comes back in the next step. I've met, you know, but that, So what I'm saying something similar, but I'm to look at the the way that you're criticising yourself, you know cause that's as I bet, you're doing something similar, not just in meditation. You know that's bring Meditation is bringing out some kind of chronic. Go thing in you. You know that is a kind of clinging. You know your
clinging what what is it that your clinging to there? You know it's The notion of yourself is imperfect. Or as you're a slacker in some way, or is it just can't quite get it right? You know. Is it from toilet training. It's time, you know where, you know what you are like the two thousand all right, but you know you're you're, not doing it right. Your messing up, you know me could be a way. It could go back to work something more at a ball, meaning more JANET all meaning you know like you can't do it right. You know but there's some element of clinging there that if you folks it's your mindfulness. If you focus your attend on the whatever they, feeling tone is that's going into I'm not doing this right
I give you another way to lie the clinging dissolve. You know it's just like changing the phone. It's a little bit where the ego, the Eagles machinations, you know the egos instinctive habits themselves become the object of mindfulness and that that I think, is leading towards the insight practices. You know where we start to make the self whatever the self might be but we we start looking for how we actually experienced the self. In our own experience in amusing experience twice, but how we actually know Oh, I don't know the self from the inside and that becomes really interesting
or interesting than just looking at the hindrances. Yet I to me that the tour their totally length- yes, absolute, their totally length. Yes it's in the moment, you're seeing doubt, but you can broaden the focus to look at the habitual storylines better. These programmes that are tape said running all the time you can look at yourself like, like that's what I'm saying, Wessner, that's good level then you're, looking at the whole system of like what is this, whose telling the story was whose saving, but without without getting it right away like who is it? Who is it like? You have to fight like it's you, you know your you were in their doing yes, so we, where are you you know, like really find really really like, really try to find that the issue of like fire,
near the self the self at all. You could sound. I would imagine to some people as a little or no room or abstruse Eric. You know why is it important to took to examine the self the earnings of some people may many people men. I have any idea what you even are talking about. We talk about the Self Wells something's running us. And it's not always the healthiest version of who we could be, but we can I may care. If we don't see a clearly on make it on me, Is it possible that unmake, the self I dont know with its past the ball to doubts. One self a little more to you, to use doubt in a good way right over its past
well to become less sure that you have to be. The person who always questioning are you doing it right? So how would want even begin to look at the self come to therapy. If you this is not an angry done just in meditation, I think I think. Of course it can be done just in meditation, but I think it's very easy not to do it in meditation, It's very easy to just spent your whole life in medicine. Asian doing something else. What would that be? You know getting caught on your breath, you being mindful you know, lifting moving placing you as you walk as it was even the raisins right. So all the tricks mindfulness. Now you not necessarily looking at the operating system. Exactly whatever the outcome in the upper you not necessarily
getting down to us something more real in yourself. And one of your arguments is that meditation isn't gonna fix all of Europe that other things, namely psychotherapy, are also really important. Second therapy might not fix all of your problems either, but while you also argue that the obvious books, you feel you had a quote in one of your books and honour of which from you or somebody else, that psychotherapy can bring you understanding without Relief Yeltsin's from it. Yeah yeah, I know I know report indeed, if we are only saying that that's that's from when a car, That's when I remember so by the EU you have a little bit of a contrary streak in you about the current mindfulness revolution that it's not the only thing. The only modality
we should be reaching Forky. Just say more about that, because I feel like it will build upon the discussion we ve been having well in the in the buddhist way of things. King and putting the buddhist psychology and so on, mindfulness is an introductory practice. You know it's, it's like the way in two examining the self. So the two to take mindfulness away from that context and present it here in the West, as a complete thing in and of itself seems, We clearly like we're short changing people. So I am all for, like it. I've been involved in this from the beginning of mindfulness coming into western college. I'm am all for at its been its enormously helpful for lots and lots of people. But The tendency is too in a like with Prozac when Prozac came
Everyone wanted to take prozac because they thought of it. Does the thing that is the magic thing that's gonna make me feel better and some people Prozac really worked for them. Like nothing else ever ever had before and then for lots of people presented then just gave them side effects or did nothing at all, so the hunger or like the one thing that's gonna know you know, fix everything leads alive. Of people to mindfulness coz its new and there's a lot of fun. It has a lot of charisma for the moment and inevitably people are gonna be disappointed because it can't you know to try to overwork it is just gonna be frustrating for for lots of people. So I'm foreseeing Matt coming This is why I am you know, cautious about
there is a real tendency in my field. The field of psychotherapy or a young therapists in training to why Fun to learn to be a mindfulness based therapist and that, come into it wanting to do that they spend their graduate school learning to do that and and they never learn anything from the whole tradition of psycho dynamic, psychotherapy like that's just like overwhelm so then there maybe dealing with people in an intense interpersonal situations. They're not gonna have the wisdom of psychotherapy to turn to to help to help deal with these. The you, no more intense kinds of disturbances that that healthy people have said
I can really see as Europe. I could really here as your speaking that that what a big influence you ve had on me, because I knew you were right at the beginning of my meditation career, and I think that's inevitably would lead me to take these sort of ten percent. Happier oval rude and also you know. When people ask me you I try to be very careful to say. Look, I don't think I'm not a meditation supremacist. You know that I don't think it's the king of all modalities. I think you we know there about two things that work when it comes to mental well being, and they include medication like a therapy getting a sleeve exercise, positive relationships, meeting for work, diet, and so we should be reaching for Ollie's It seems to me that's what you're saying, but it might is, is there more to it than that will probably there's more to it than that, but but I'm definitely saying that I mean the iceberg.
A little bit of time in India, around the Dalai Lama and around that the tibetan community and in exile and worked with The young, the physician who was the Dalai Lama's physician and asked a lot of questions about like was there the same kind of emotional suffering in their community, as as there there is an hour's and there is, and there have psychotherapy, They don't have psychotherapy, they didn't have much medication there, like you, know People high up in the in the community, who are our bipolar. You know they have met, depressive illness just like we have manic depressive illness. That's out of control. You know had because I'm a psychiatrist, stand the people within the various Buddhist communities trust me. I've had
Then teachers, meditation teachers of all stripes who universe be accomplished, but are still suffering from. You know depression. An anxiety addiction, your personal issues. You know why sexual issues are. I mean every people our who they are and that sort of the beautiful thing about a Buddhism is, it says, just work with yourself. Just as you are, you know like the more real you can be about what you're struggles are. The more useful. This is all gonna be stay tuned. More of our conversation is on the way after this singular, woke up, your phone is lighting up with headlines and push notifications and a text from your mom saying. How do I click this? Ok- maybe that's just me, but if you want to get up to speed,
got. The new podcast from ABC News Start here literally the ground, was shaking I'm bride milking and every morning we're gonna. Take you to the stories that matter with fast, fresh in silo rubber mother, Michael common goals only twenty minutes start Here- listen for free on apple podcast or your favorite podcast app One of the many things that I liked about your book is really the feeling of being brought into the room, down another books, but I tell you, but I got in this- book a sense of the rapidity of the back and forth the complexity. The sort of multi dimensional chess game. You are playing their while treating patients. You just say it is some more about that yet well there
here's the thing that happened that I didn't put into this book, but that was sort of like the the prelude to this book that I think, would help to enter your coat. With, which was my my father, who live Your father was a physician in Boston and Ass, a scientist in a researcher and clinician my father got brains. Answer at the age of eighty four. On silent part of his brain so on the non dominant part of his brain. So he was working seeing patients doing research we got lost one day driving home from the Beth Israel Hospital to my parents have some Brookline. You know a ten mins drive that he had taken. For thirty years got law that's how they found the tumor by the time they founded it. It had extended they couldn't really do anything about it, and it was this.
I'm kind of malignant tumor that John Mccain has in that TED Kennedy died from you and my father. Other being the physician that he was knew the prognosis new. He only had a short time to live. As did I- and I had never talk to him he's an like my patients by, but more so I knew he wasn't interested in any of the spiritual staff and another way in which he is like my father. Another way in which he is, he asked and I instead he was very proud. Out of my writing any had all my books on a special shelf in his offer on round. I think he read on it as if you read some of them, but we we talked about the need of you. No light is exactly what's goin on night. I think it's not unusual, but I didn't want it. Came uncomfortable and yet I had gone my way and we had worked our stuff out, and you know that was all fine, but I
amber sitting in my office, which is it here in New York. Realising my father gonna die soon and that we have never talked about what may be, I understood from the buddhist world about what could help in the process of dying said. This is coming into like the complexity of the kinds of conversations that one can have. An answer restore as a sun, nor as a friend or you know, it's not that different so I decided I would call my father on the phone and try to talk to him, which I did and he picked up. He was and he was very receptive and I said you know we ve never too act about any of this, but but Maybe it would be helpful in know as you go into this new thing, You know what what they say, and what what I sort of believe I need to talk to him in, like a sort of in their non asked
virtual language just in day to day language? So I said something like you. But the feeling that, that you ve always had deep inside about who you are that when you were twenty or forty or sixty or eighty, it doesn't seem to have changed very much like if you close your eyes, it you're just you're, still you, but if you try to find that feeling to try to put your finger on it. It sort of invisible, gets kind of transparent, but yeah you know it's there. You know you're not like another person. When you, you know, I saw but the Buddhist seemed to say is that If you learn how to relax your mind into that feeling, who you ve always been that You can write that feeling out when you die when the body starts to fall away and never who youth you are no longer operative and so on that still there, My father listened and he was very nice and he is like
hey, darling, I'll try, but that I faced that had those kinds of conversations in a different with everybody, but in my office Because. Sooner or later everybody its through. You know really intense things like this. You know some comes in at the Age of thirty one newly newly discovered that they have the breast cancer gene in her and then You have to go when in three weeks for a double mastectomy you know or As someone comes whose child has been run over, you know crossing the street in alike. Like random things- that in the lots of people coming just cause there, you know trying to me
their marriage work better, but so trying to figure out what kind of language too used to give people another perspective on what they are going through is, I think, deeper challenge of bringing me two worlds together is: is this work? lasting or invigorating or both it's, not that exhausting it's often invigorating the only time, only time that it's really tiring is if some, If I'm with someone and they're not really talking to me about wider there, you know not being real enough in some way or just
or so defensive around. You know they just really can't yet so that that's the most challenging fund and you find it- you ve made big mistakes. May have certainly made some mistakes. I talk about one of them at the beginning of the book of being aggressive were The young man who came to see me again coming off of meditation retreat where his mind started to unwind and he was a little crazy. I thought the threat of an eye for an eye, but I with medium for the first time and I wanted to help him and I felt like how something was quite right, but I laid into him too quickly about what might be wrong like you might be by Paul. Or maybe we need to give your medicine and scared him
Mother called me the next day in a sort of criticising me for scaring Heaven. How could I you know? I only met him once what was I e? What was I thinking, She was totally right. And I use that example in the book to talk about why a therapist has to be careful with his or her expertise or her knowledge, because often you can use that knowledge, yeah, I'm insensitive way, if not a hurtful away. You you open a book with a really effective he's writing about the ego, Can you can you talk about out of it ego is the one affliction we all share. in our struggle to be bigger, better stronger, more
this. We undermine ourselves relentlessly so that were left With a feeling of being yeah, you know unworthy, not good enough insufficient. So the ego I have thus under its way, and we can't just get me of, the ego has to do that. Would leave us psychotic or help We need our egos and my ego, Thinking mind the ego. The ego comes out of the intellect, so it's a product of the thinking, my latest thought out. It is a sort of stars to come. When were two or three years old and there's enough self consciousness, For the young person to realize that there alone in here. You know it
like a little person them there and the relays like sort of alone. Then what who's gonna protect me you know, and so, thinking, mind the intellect develop necessarily what we call it you go which, which help. Thus regulate ourselves. It helps mediate. The outer demands, you know, of the parents, in the schools and the older brother, and so on with the inner need for food and holding an affection, none. So the ego it sort of like the exam function. The way we talk about it now, if it helps to regulate or mediate experience, we ve got a reserve. We will. We start. Think we are it. You know like we don't we shouldn't get rid of We need we need all that the EU can do for us but term,
We tend to cleave to add exclusively in you know that. I think, that first book of mine that you read going to pieces without falling apart. That was another way of talking about the same thing that there are very important differences in life that when a car My personal turn to when I, when I my looking for inspiration, a british british psychoanalyst he gave it the name of an integration, you know differ. From disintegration. But there times of. Going to sleep having sex listening to music watching a movie riding a bicycle: it soul cycle there there are times when you don't need your ego to be in charge. In
dad. You were letting go in a certain way and expanding and letting the boundaries down. I win. A cot talked about play, that little children in there her play our inaction, state of uninterrupted nation if they feel safe enough. If the parents are there, but not too much there. You know if they're in the next room- and you know they're there- then you can like play the little man on the carpet or will or whatever and- and that say that sense of play in some way, I think, is what were returning to and meditation were, giving ourselves that unstructured time to just let the mind unfurl and out of that were reducing the clinging to the ego. You know we still need a when we have to go to school. The next day, or about a work or take out the garbage hour, drive a car still needed, and we can find it again, but we don't need it all. The time it sounds like you
just need. We need to give eager, we need to have little vacations or we need to talk yet from master to serve and in others those different ways to talk about so medications, but also an abiding to create a relationship. That's a little difference in on it in an honest, Fighting based on an basis, that's the the internal shift. That's what I was trying to get to before when I was talking to you about making the the sense of self object of meditation another way to say that would be like change your relationship to the ego silenced. Of letting it it's driving you when you are saying I'm not doing it right. That's really ego talking, you know so well, I can get you or Joseph Goldstein can get you to look at that You go the same way. You're looking at the doubt, then, and then then, where are you you know, then you
taking a little vacation from your ego right right then, and that moment leaked Personally, I view the loom out of love field, sure work, in the end of our time- and I think I'll just put myself in the position of the listener, who will have been as I have been, like really interested in everything you're saying but may want us like some practical something practical to do. What? If we clause, would you be willing to do a five minute? Guided meditation Rees puts into like shows how to do what you ve been talking about. I could show you how to do something here You can do no wrong in my ok, I mean that actually with but your game for that Because we can edit this out of you know here, was sure I would try. Occasionally start yeah, you gotta clock right there you can, you can do is go as long as you're. Ok,
Well, I would say first first pay attention to your physical pasture so let yourself said all into some kind of comfortable sitting position, where you're feeling you're back relatively straight. Your feet on the ground or folded beneath you, but feeling all the places where your body is being supported, either by the floor or a cushion or the couch or the chair or the car, if you're listening, you know so feeling the touch points of your body. And then. There's, a parallel mental pasture that you want Give yourself so you want to rest your mind in the body. The way the body is resting in the chair, so just let you're thinking mind you
aware mind let it said into itself as best you can just relax, relax they frown lines in your forehead, relax they muscles on your shoulder. And let your. Listening awareness, particularly. At your ear doors What we call in buddhist psychology, the ear door, portal. Where sound enters your mind, so open the ear doors so you're just listening. Not only to my voice, but two Are they Ambien sounds that are coming around it through it to the side of it along
side of it. To make the meditation. One where you're open, Listening hearing the sounds as they strike. Your ear drum. Noticing both the silences and the sound, but not making a big distinction between them. Letting adjust our pass through your awareness. And then, in the midst of that, where your job you're just the body held by the by the chair by the
or the mind relaxed into the body the sounds swirling about you or not, and three hundred and sixty degrees, Save your mind, opening your ears, opening your attention, opening. If you start to hear your, our thinking. Pay attention to that too. Just notice the kinds of thoughts, if you are having you, don't, have to go looking for them, but if thoughts come this be curious about them. The same way you might but the sound You are already letting yourself here there's a dog barking or there is a car horror, there's the stuff.
From the radio have the same, kind of pasture, the same kind of mental posture towards your own thoughts. Don't push them away, but don't cling to them. And if there you know random data data. What am I going to do next Wednesday, gonna be over those kinds of thoughts. Those are easy to just let pass through you. But if the thoughts have a little more so thing attached to them. A little more he go, we might say if you can feel yourself gripping somewhere with the thought like
Dan was talking earlier. I'm not doing this right. Or if some memory comes of somebody Europe sat with. Some kind of thought where you really know you're you thinking it. I can really matters to you, pay particular em. Particular attention to that feeling It really mattering. Try to zero in on the. Really mattering, like really bothers you.
And just try to hold the sense of that feeling without indulging it, you don't have to do anything about it. You know the way your mother talk to. You your partner didn't say goodbye if any thoughts like that come just, observe them like anything else, but look for their mental town, the feeling town associated with it, and just like that percolate. There.
And then, after a bad you can you can come away from that and dwell once more. Just in the sounds around you're in there. Physical sense of your body in the chair on the floor on the couch in the sea and if If your eyes had been closed, you can open your eyes if you're driving, hopefully you ve, had them open and dead. You know forget about where we just were and come back to your irregular life have great an answer It may well, you are pointing in meditation toward what you ve been discussing throughout this package, which is. This feeling we ve always had or since since we can woke up into ourselves of of us of of the self. Yet
I think, I think, of confusing of confusing even to me, because I think there's two different feelings: there the one that I was trying to show my father, which is you know the feeling of who you are, he's been and who you might still be, even when you're totally enlightened are into your next incarnation or whatever that might be Your Buddha nature, you know your consciousness. And then there is the feeling of like oh the matter with me or how could she do that to me? Are you know, I'm embarrassed to show this thing about me or I feel ashamed to be myself and that much more the eager, a feeling that that I think we don't need so I'm actually trying to show both until its clear, which is which.
I unreservedly recommend your book and I do that with all of your books, but equally with this one. So it's always a pleasure to see you thanks D, you're the best really nice to deal with. I owe you in an enormous amount of you, ve paid back a long time ago. I appreciated thank you. Are right, big thanks to Mark Epstein. It's such a pleasure to see him every time. I see him and yes really appreciate check out his book. Aren't let's do let's do some voicemail you'd, never one again, but this is rob. Prime Minister, recently in a pod cast, you said that you got your meditation time daily from two hours to one hour, just wondering if you noticed any change in their beneficial effects. Basically, I was wondering if there's any diminishing returns when it comes
meditation after a certain point thanks a lot. So I did I buy for a long time. I did two hours a day of meditation and I cut back to one for some reason. I've talked about on the show before having to do with the fact that I had a three hundred and sixty review. That's when you know it's really unpleasant thing, but you recruit people from all areas of your life, personal professional people who you work for who work for you or your p, and they give anonymous feedback to the reviewer and then the day the review right up a report anyway. That report a fuss pretty Lee Humbling and that one of the things that people say was that I was just pulled into many directions and disengaged in cranky, and I made a bunch of short term medium term and also increasingly
work on some long term changes. As a consequence of that report, and one of the things I did three quickly is to cut back to one hour, because frankly just made me more available at the office and at home and little less crazy and stressed getting everything in every day that I needed to do so in this and in a sense, that's been a real positive and one of the things I did what in because they I am really committed to a deep practice and I think it's simple. It's important to me personally, but also important. I thinking in the work on trial Do that. I know what I'm talking about when I go out and talk to people about meditation, not only on this package, but it in in my speeches and in the app and all the other stuff that I'm doing so might the. Whereas what I've done in cutting back to an hour's really committed to doing a long meditation every along meditation retreat every year, and I e g close
listeners may remember a conversation we had within the last eighteen months with a day Goldman, enriching Davidson, who wrote a book called altered traits in at all about the science, the neuroscience, around meditation. One of the things they said was that there appears to be evidence that its retreat time, that is the most effective in terms of advancing your practice. So I think I feel pretty good about this trade offer a lot of reasons, and you know I think this is the science suggest that retreat time is really important. It also sending you hear from teachers anyway, in terms of the effect on my daily practice, going for two hours to one due notice that you know now that I met one the meditation it's the beneficial effect on the meditation. Is that I'm not? I think there is a lot of not so subtle or seen and then to a large extent, also unseen
concern in my head about getting at all in every day, and I think they had an effect on the quality of the practice. That being said, the detrimental part of it. Is that doing two hours a day really does up your ability to concentrate, and so I can feel that going down a little bit, but not in a way that freaking me out. So it's not some huge, crazy horrible effects on the quality of of my practice is the He was. Are there are diminishing returns? You know, look I'll teach say from going on retreat the when you're doing intensive all day long practice, especially you know, also sort of turning every all the interstitial moments a treaty no walking around eating going to sleep, brushing your teeth. Turning off, whose into mindfulness exercises. Well, I have found to be incredibly powerful, so in my experience there doesn't there does not appear to be diminishing returns in terms of caught. You know packing in.
Turn of meditation into a single day, but in terms of your daily life practice, I don't know, I think, that's probably here's my guess, athletes, probably quite in ITALY. That probably has to do with your specific mind. So I suspect this kind of initiative, individual issues and cry thing, and so what I would say is if you're thinking about doing more or less meditation, just experiment really that's what this is. In the end, what I've learned a lot about the thorny practice of forming and breaking habits for humans? Experimentation is incredibly important, so for show experiment for three years, with two hours a day. It was working for a variety of reasons, and I come back to one, but my life
Commission may change, and I go back to two. I know be blue. Do three, or maybe a half hour really depends and I think, having a sort of a lack of rigidity, but but an overall commitment in order for the practices from when I can tell seems to be the real important bottom line. Thank you for that question really appreciated. Rub: let's go to Belinda now from Chicago right, clicking around any recommendations we have around how to. I can confirm medication, coach that something that you would like to do, that to get a little bit more. There are different angle on your medication packet defined a coach either certification. They should look for it like an.
Are you process through you kind of his deep you click or the pride? Do you recommend going off into general review or how to go about that? Also how to approach the awkward conversation of payment and how you compensate them for their time traditionally and just like in an example of how to kind of approach that worth or throw them out there things very much lower to do by I really appreciate that question and it this is it. This is an issue. There isn't a great system for finding a meditation teacher, and evaluating their credentials. It's this the very young industry at obviously an ancient practice, but it's there may we haven't set up greater all these different schools and meditation and forms a minute, station and different levels of there is. There is no good good housekeeping seal of approval.
And I dont know if there ever will be one. I know there's been a lot of talk in meditation world of working towards in that Action in certain schools have pretty clear levels of you know of teachers, but overall for beginner, it's kind of a murky situation. So let me say a few things that I hope will hopefully will be helpful. One of them is this is not a person to person face to face relationship, but you are so Scarborough to the ten percent happier app. We do have these coaches. It is a in my opinion vastly under utilised feature of the app, but we find that the people who interact with our coaches even do that right through the app he's. Coaches are long time, experience meditated. They really know how to answer questions. They love doing it, love doing it. There really committed to this work. They will engage with you as much as
We would like an answer all the questions you you have, and so I really do recommend that that's not a that's, not the same, thing is having a face to face relationship with a teacher, but it's a really good step in the right direction. The entire. If you live in a city where there are meditation teachers, many major cities now have either buddhist Centres or secular drop in places like in New York City, there's mindful em and de L, which has it if three places in Europe York City. We can go, learn meditation. We also in your city, have the new incite meditation. Centre in other places, and- and this is true in a lot of major cities around the country if you live in a city where your privilege to have teachers, what I would recommend is, owing to a bunch of classes, seeing who you click with asking questions in the group human eight. I'm at the end of a class if they have it and really getting a census? this somebody who you think you can learn from
they seem like. They really know what you're talking about. Did they talk about the practice in a way that resonates with you one, yardstick. For me is: do they take themselves seriously or an hut? I find that that my favorite teachers really don't take themselves to seriously. They take the practice really seriously. They take you at your welfare really seriously but they're, not they don't have a guru complex. The other thing is there have been. This is not happening, it's not an epidemic, but it is a real problem. There have been bad teachers, and so are you. Be careful and the Good NEWS on that is episode. One hundred and forty three on the five gas. If you go back and listen to that, guy that'll seem talks. A lot about. You wrote a book on this very problem and talks a lot about how to evaluate It is through this light on the on the issue of payment. This is in sight.
I'm teachers have set payment, so it's not complicated, but in the in the school in which I've been trained, they work on what call D Donna system D A and a which is basically means generosity. Were you to sort of give what you can afford give which want at which it can be very confusing, and so what I would recommend is a really direct conversation with the teacher and say, generally speaking, what do you get for an hour of your time if the teachers uncomfortable answering that- and I would just go with your gut- think about what you pay, you know you're for a workout or if you see a shrink and use that as a benchmark and then also think about what can you afford? None of these teachers you to spend more money than you can afford? The reason why they operate on this one of the reasons why they operate on this day
The model is they're not out to make tons of money and then want to set up bar financially. That is hard for people to vault over, so I ate it does is going to require a little introspection on your part, but- and I recognize that it's awkward but absolutely surmount double the I apologize Belinda that there isn't some clear system out there This is something it. I've put some thought into with a company like a lot of certainly, when were evaluating teachers for the temperature and happier app, we, you know, ask a lot of hard questions and think a lot about a lot of very various factors, but for those you out there who are nearer to the practice in may not live in an era where there's a teacher. I recognize this is complicated which is why one of- and I noticed self serving point, but is one of the reasons why I think acts are great and not just our app. There are lots of great apps out there, including heads basins in same Harris's. Waking up course so Apps our great but having a one on one relationship with a teacher, is also
phenomenal. In my case with Joseph Goldstein, it's made a huge difference. So best of luck to you, I wish I had a easier answer, but our lead. Those are some useful tools Wanna thank everybody for tuna in yet again we really all that the whole team. We really appreciate the fact that you come back every week. It means a lot to us You like what we do, and I know we say this all time, but it is a reason why we say because it makes a big difference subscribe to the show rate us give us a rating. I like five stars, but you know it's up to you- tell your friends about opposed on social media. All of that stuff makes a huge difference because the more listeners we get the stronger a case we can make to continue doing this. Also, if you want to suggest topic, she wants to cover. Guess you want us to have on hit me up on Twitter at Danby Harris Events
good ideas through there, a lot of ideas that I am yet follow through on, but we have a long long list of future guests. I also really wanna thank the people who are involved in producing this pipe past Samuel, Johns, Rhine Kessler. In the rest, the folks Eddie Bc News who ve done a lot to make this possible. I think it's worth of poor shouting out again. Tiffany does love audio work on the show, just had a baby gradually again to her and her family. We have a ton of other pod casts here. ABC News, including a new one called the drop out which is utterly fascinating and from the back a job as a colleague of mine. Here, any Bc News and it's about aeronauts scandal. I recommend you to check that out. That's all we got free this week, a technical one a person in America who hasn't been impact it in some way, the corona virus pandemic, but every community there are pockets of people who are sitting up,
Every day this is my my day last day of the cylinder stretch of proteins for one of our time in these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a home school mom and now in a new plants from Ebay, see news you going from damaged and even worse, I she went back to my office inside crying because it's not fair hearing here, making sorry that our community smiled faintly moraine. This is essentially inside the from the urgency by the police cruiser to the czech outline. You hear what this pandemic sounds like the people putting themselves no one's way, there's always a risk that I could breathe is home to my kids. Are my husband or my parents? Listen to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast revision, podcast him.