This pandemic moment is asking us to truly reckon with the idea of uncertainty — challenging our neat narratives of the future and our notions about who we’re supposed to be.
This episode’s guest is Mark Epstein, a fellow upstate New Yorker and author of the beautiful book Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself, in which he explores the intersection of Western psychotherapy and Buddhism — and what each tradition has to offer us with regard to loosening the ego’s grip.
In this conversation, we take a deep dive into how the pandemic is interrupting all the usual stories we tell ourselves, why it’s not unlike being on an unplanned meditation retreat, and how all this reclusive downtime beckons us — or maybe even forces us — to take a closer look at who we think we’re supposed to be.
Key takeaways from this conversation:
- How the pandemic is interrupting (and aggravating) our identities as “productive” people
- The importance of resting with uncertainty and how it challenges our notions of the self
- How meditation can bring hidden thoughts to life & give us more choice about what we’re thinking
- Why this moment is asking us to reckon with the impact our behavior has on the world
Open Your Heart
Hi-Fi, tune into the wisdom of the heart. Hi-Fi is a new, community-focused course created by me — Hurry Slowly host Jocelyn K. Glei — that invites you to reconnect with your body, open your heart, and bring your intuition online. Learn more at hifi-course.com.
“I think it’s so easy to extrapolate from this moment as if we know what’s going to happen in a week, or a month, or three months, or six months, or a year. And this is one of those situations. The Buddha was always talking about it, of the importance of uncertainty. That really, we don’t know what the next moment is going to bring.”
“For myself, I feel like all those retreats that I’ve been on, they really help. Because this way of living is so much like being on retreat. You can sort of feel what the weather is going to be the next day, but you don’t know much more than that.”
“In this time when people are much more secluded than they’re used to, when they’re quarantined, when they’re in the home, when they don’t quite know what to do with themselves, there’s a real opportunity to bring this quality of mindful awareness to the particulars of one’s life. There’s a real opportunity to be much more alive, and awake, and aware in one’s day-to-day life.”
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The references and ideas that we mention in this epi:
- Mark’s book: Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself
- Sharon Salzberg makes me feel better
- Robert Thurman: Expanding your circle of compassion
- Jack Kornfield: A steady heart in the time of coronavirus
- The Ten Percent Happier meditation app
- After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield
- Donald Winnicott and the “holding environment”
- My new course Hi-Fi, tune into the wisdom of the heart
- Follow Mark at: Website | Facebook | Twitter
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