Buddhist psychiatrist and author Dr. Mark Epstein has for years written about the overlap between Western psychotherapy and Eastern Buddhist philosophies. Epstein sat down with Dan Harris to talk about the impact meditation can have on the mind, both positive and negative, for those looking for an escape from suffering. He also went deep into the Buddhist concept of the "no-self," whether Enlightenment can be reached ... and what it might look or feel like. He has written numerous books on these topics, his most recent being, "The Trauma of Everyday Life." Epstein first discovered meditation in college and one of the "breakthroughs" he said that made the practice click for him happened while he was learning to juggle. "Once I got the three oranges in the air, my mind had to relax in order to keep it going and I understood, 'Oh yeah, this is what they're trying to teach me in mediation.'" Before he found meditation, Epstein said he was a very anxious person who worried all the time. Now after practicing meditation for more than 40 years, Epstein said he wouldn't know what he would be without it.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
said repeat the word one: instead of a secret mantra, silently Then a great in graduate school went on to become the psychology writer of the times and then wrote emotional intelligence, but here
and I was, I think, probably a big worrier and and something of a stryver. Also within my you know, academic world. So my approach to meditation, for instance, was to go to the classes and try really hard, and I have tried to try to get it with my mind, which was very frustrating and what one of the M, a breakthroughs that I had in those early days, was to tap into some other way of relating to meditation and other people and myself that that I got off the buddhist thing once I entered it in a different way. It is the breakthrough in it. If memory serves again came through juggling the breakthrough that summer came from juggling cause, I was, at this Buddhist Summer Camp, Slash University, where everyone with very serious about their spiritual aspirations, but I have these two roommates who had been assigned to me randomly who were sons. They were twins, sons of Holocaust survivors,
a lot of arrows in a quiver when it comes to well be therapy medicine medication, sleep, diet, exercise, good relationships are having a meaningful work, life did there, you have to choose one, and none of them is a silver bullet right either. Meditation has been really useful for me, but I again, I agree that I'm glad I called the book ten percent happier, even I'm stuck with math jokes risk, my life, but because I think the over selling is it is a problem in the culture for sure. What do you think about with? I wasn't gonna go there be brought up. This mindfulness excitement. That's in the culture right now. What do you feel like its edging? I used to use talked about it, edging out. Traditional psychotherapy do feel like its edging out Buddhism and away and that worrisome too, you know it might be edging out itself. You know the the pendulum might have swung already people. People may start questioning. You know all the sort of like prozac. You know twenty years ago, thirty years ago, everyone wanted to take prozac. Does it help some people so much so everyone who needed help with anything wanted presiding in it and if Prozac doesn't help you than it's like just drinking water? You know you just get the side effects or or nothing happens, so I am all for the mindfulness movement, as had been wonderful in other people have picked up on one aspect of Buddhism. That is a wonderful thing and I think it helped the psychotherapy field to realise that there is a practical technique that can be taught that people can take home, that you can learn and grew that people can practice together on all of that bottom. You know you can't people really want that quick fix thing, and so inevitably they're gonna be disappointed and it'll find its place. Yet I think you did you speak to use an AL geographic areas should be another arrow in a quiver MIA, one of the kind of things that we think about we're trying to figure out how to improve our well being. The should just be something we can turn to raising and be second beat the be all and end all honest, knocking tv to the exclusion of other things, and that will end the thing about psychotherapy. Is that it the cult the time and the culture that Buddhism came from? You know there is no psychotherapy and then there was hardly a psychological self, but perhaps we don't know what the self was like twenty five hundred years ago, but certainly an asian cultures. Now there's a huge need for psychotherapy that is only beginning to be talked about its, not they're, not cultures, where people feel free to you know even investigate their more difficult emotions. You just have to put them away to, and you know do what you have to do in Europe, in your family and for your job, and so I met that. Doesn't sound super health enemy. No, I don't think it a super healthier. So, just up on the issue of the surf efficacy of meditation mad experienced last week that.
play more tibetan. Buddhism has most of what I've looked at is known as terrified and Buddhism, which is not the old school early Buddhist. What why? Why did your bank that I can do you remember, making it over one thousand five hundred years or whatever in the Buddhist culture of South Asia, Buddhism itself, Evolvd and it went from the predominant view-