This book of Epstein's seemed a lot more helpful and useful than his more theoretical "Thoughts Without a Thinker." I felt her recast many of the old Buddhist stories in a very new light that make them sparkle again. His intertwining of psychoanalysis with meditation was brilliant especially his demonstration that both are complementary and that one can get stuck in either mode. Finally, his analysis of how our selves resist disintegration even in sexuality and interpersonal intimacy rings so true! Epstein comes across as so human, so struggling and yet so wise. I felt the gentle touch of a caring counselor throughout the book.
I enjoyed this book in part because it provided an interweaving of two of my favorite topics: Buddhist spirituality and psychology. In first couple of chapters Mr. Epstein makes some interesting comparisons between modern psychology and Buddhist mediation. It further aligns some strengths of psychology with Buddhist teachings and insights gained through mediation practice.
As the book went on, however, it became apparent that the author sought to write about Buddhist practice, sprinkled here and there with thoughts about psychology. Not that writing about Buddhism is a bad thing its just not a new thing. And for my money, Mr. Epstein did a more than admirable job of writing about Buddhism in his first book, "Thoughts Without a Thinker." I wanted more of a balance between western psychology and Buddhist practice, not more of the same. I was also a little lost by the excerpts taken from D.W. Winnicott and how they related to the points being made in the text.
Altogether not a bad read, just not a great one either.