Depressed people think they know themselves, but maybe they only know depression.

— Mark Epstein

The most bumbling Mark Epstein quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

The willingness to face traumas - be they large, small, primitive or fresh - is the key to healing from them. They may never disappear in the way we think they should, but maybe they don’t need to. Trauma is an ineradicable aspect of life. We are human as a result of it, not in spite of it.

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Uncovering your real desires can be terrifying. It can also set you spectacularly free.

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Buddhism teaches us that happiness does not come from any kind of acquisitiveness, be it material or psychological. Happiness comes from letting go. In Buddhism, the impenetrable, separate, and individuated self is more of the problem than the solution.

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Desire is a teacher: When we immerse ourselves in it without guilt, shame, or clinging, it can show us something special about our own minds that allows us to embrace life fully.

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Trauma never goes away completely, it changes perhaps, softens some with time, but never completely goes away.

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Anger is sign that something needs to change.

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To be free, to come to terms with our lives, we have to have a direct experience of ourselves as we really are, warts and all.

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It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.

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In building a path through the self to the far shore of awareness, we have to carefully pick our way through our own wilderness. If we can put our minds into a place of surrender, we will have an easier time feeling the contours of the land. We do not have to break our way through as much as we have to find our way around the major obstacles. We do not have to cure every neurosis, we just have to learn how not to be caught by them.

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To free desire from the tendency to cling, we have to be willing to stumble over ourselves.

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If aspects of the person remain undigested-cut off, denied, projected, rejected, indulged, or otherwise unassimilated-they become the points around which the core forces of greed, hatred and delusion attach themselves.

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When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves-from other people, relationships, or material goods-or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either case we are trying to find completion. But according to Buddhism, such a strategy is doomed. Completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.

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About Mark Epstein

Quotes 25 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday 1953

Meditation is not a means of forgetting the ego;

it is a method of using the ego to observe and tame its own manifestations.

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It is exceedingly difficult to maintain a sense of absence without turning that absence into some kind of presence

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Meditation did not relieve me of my anxiety so much as flesh it out.

It took my anxious response to the world, about which I felt a lot of confusion and shame, and let me understand it more completely. Perhaps the best way to phrase it is to say that meditation showed me that the other side of anxiety is desire. They exist in relationship to each other, not independently.

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We are looking for a way to feel more real, but we do not realize that to feel more real we have to push ourselves further into the unknown.

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I have come to see that our problem is that we don't know what happiness is.

We confuse it with a life uncluttered by feelings of anxiety, rage, doubt, and sadness. But happiness is something entirely different. It's the ability to receive the pleasant without grasping and the unpleasant without condemning.

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There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual.

Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something in the person (dare we call it a soul?) wants to be free, and it seeks its freedom any way it can. ... There is a drive for transcendence that is implicit in even the most sensual of desires.

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The central premise of this book is that the Western psychological notion of what it means to have a self is flawed.

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One of the age-old truths about love is that while it offers unparalleled opportunities for union and the lifting of ego boundaries, it also washes us up on the shores of the loved one's otherness. Sooner or later, love makes us feel inescapably separate.

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As my Buddhist teachers have shown me, wisdom emerges in the space around words as much as from language itself.

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The picture we present to ourselves of who we think we ought to be obscures who we really are.

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Anxiety and desire are two, often conflicting, orientations to the unknown.

Both are tilted toward the future. Desire implies a willingness, or a need, to engage this unknown, while anxiety suggests a fear of it. Desire takes one out of oneself, into the possibility or relationship, but it also takes one deeper into oneself. Anxiety turns one back on oneself, but only onto the self that is already known.

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We are what we think, having become what we thought.

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