Parts and pieces
28 August 2008 1 Comment
I rather enjoyed doing the little mini-review the last time, that I thought I’d do another, and later on, one on occasion. Even the simple act of summarising and describing the content in the book helps me to internalise some of its ideas and integrate them a bit better in my mind. So here’s a write up on a book I first read a long time ago, and several times after that, and one which I credit for setting me off on this path with greater certitude.
Mark Epstein’s Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart sort of fell into my lap and pulled me out of some fairly dark times about eight years ago, and recently, I had the chance to pass it on to someone else after reading it for the third or fourth time.
It is a book pondering the limits of modern psychotherapy rather than about Buddhism but I like Epstein’s interweaving of Buddhist perspectives with modern psychotherapeutic practices in an attempt to show how psychotherapy might be more effective if the ego-self were actually allowed to go to pieces, instead of being continually shored up by self-affirmative thoughts, actions or attitudes.
Allowing the ego-self to fall to pieces, to not have all the answers, to not feel like a cohesive (or coherent!) entity, is a matter of self-forgiveness. One must be willing to accept that it’s okay to lose control, it’s okay not to be the perfect parent, student, employee, child, human being. Far from making excuses for failure, allowing the ego-self to go to pieces without falling apart ultimately enables the self to pick itself up again, with clarity and compassion, and carry on.
Image: Paperback book cover. For illustration purposes only.