The Buddha, one of the world’s first great psychologists, made acknowledgment of suffering as the centerpiece of his teaching. Trauma, if it does not destroy us, can be used to awaken the mind. When we stop distancing ourselves from our pain, or the pain of others, Buddha taught, we open up the possibility of a new experience -one that often surprises because of how much joy, connection, or relief it yields.
Join Mark Epstein, MD, and Joseph Goldstein, experts in Buddhist psychology, to explore the theory and practice of Vipassana, or Insight Meditation -the Buddha’s method of discovering freedom when dealing with the trauma of being alive, 3 May, 2014, at Omega NYC, for “The Trauma of Being Alive: A Path of Awakening.” Questions will be answered, meditations offered, and discussion is encouraged. This workshop is appropriate for both nonprofessionals and helping professionals.
Joseph Goldstein, cofounder of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, is also a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization’s guiding teachers. Since 1967, he has studied and practiced Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma, and Tibet. He has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is the author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening; A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism; Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom; and The Experience of Insight; and coauthor of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.
Mark Epstein, MD, is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and author whose latest work, The Trauma of Everyday Life, uses the Buddha’s biography to explore the hidden psychodynamics and contemporary relevance of Buddhist thought. As a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City, he integrates Buddhist psychology into his work, his teachings, and his books. His books include Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, Going on Being, Thoughts Without a Thinker, Open to Desire, Psychotherapy Without a Self. He also has written for Tricycle: A Buddhist Review, Yoga Journal, and O: The Oprah Magazine.
In The Trauma of Everyday Life renowned psychiatrist and author of Thoughts Without a Thinker Mark Epstein uncovers the transformational potential of trauma, revealing how it can be used for the mind’s own development. Western psychology teaches that if we understand the cause of trauma, we might move past it while many drawn to Eastern practices see meditation as a means of rising above, or distancing themselves from, their most difficult emotions. Both, Epstein argues, fail to recognize that trauma is an indivisible part of life and can be used as a lever for growth and an ever deeper understanding of change. When we regard trauma with this perspective, understanding that suffering is universal and without logic, our pain connects us to the world on a more fundamental level. The way out of pain is through it.
Epstein’s discovery begins in his analysis of the life of Buddha, looking to how the death of his mother informed his path and teachings. The Buddha’s spiritual journey can be read as an expression of primitive agony grounded in childhood trauma. Yet the Buddha’s story is only one of many in The Trauma of Everyday Life. Here, Epstein looks to his own experience, that of his patients, and of the many fellow sojourners and teachers he encounters as a psychiatrist and Buddhist. They are alike only in that they share in trauma, large and small, as all of us do. Epstein finds throughout that trauma, if it doesn’t destroy us, wakes us up to both our minds’ own capacity and to the suffering of others. It makes us more human, caring, and wise. It can be our greatest teacher, our freedom itself, and it is available to all of us.