Minding What Matters: Psychotherapy and the Buddha Within

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9780861713530: Minding What Matters: Psychotherapy and the Buddha Within

Minding What Matters could be considered part of a new genre, the "literary self-help" book. Echoing the style of Kundera and the insights of Jung, with dashes of The God of Small Things and Thoughts Without a Thinker, this timely book alternates between discursive sections on Buddhist topics and engrossing fictional scenes between a psychotherapist and a patient. Sometimes going so far as to directly address the reader, the book shows how of any one of us can intimately explore his or her mind. By encouraging readers to create a stare of inquiry and allowing them to put themselves into hypothetical situations-such as participating in therapy or engaging in Buddhist practices-the book shows us how to discover our inner thoughts and then act on them in positive ways. At once informative and evocative, Minding What Matters offers an entrancing vision of, in Robert Coles's words, "what is possible to do and to be."

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About the Author:

Robert Langan, PhD, is a Fellow, Training and Supervising Analyst, and Director of the Center for Applied Psychoanalysis at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City, where he maintains a private psychotherapeutic practice. His interest in Buddhism began in college and led to the Peace Corps in Nepal, where he developed a fascination with Tibetan culture. Torn between East and West, he pursued doctoral and post-doctoral training in Western psychology only to find it led him once again, but without conflict, to Buddhism. He is a longtime member of the Jewel Heart sangha and the Insight Meditation Society.

Robert Coles is the author of The Spiritual Life of Children. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

Review:

"This jewel of a book marks the emergence of an important new voice in the field. Langan writes with the wisdom of someone steeped in the practice of both Buddhism and psychoanalysis and the sensibility of a poet. His unique literary style breathes new life into old concepts and forges fascinating and unexpected links. His writing works upon the reader in subtle ways to open up new ways of seeing things and to provide a genuinely transformative experience." (Jeremy D. Safran, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Psychology, New School for Social Research, and editor of Psychoanalysis and Buddhism: An Unfolding Dialogue)

"This is the work of a man who rests naturally in the inner space of both healing traditions-psychoanalysis and Buddhism. Robert Langan's poetic sensibility more than captures that essential reality. This book should be read slowly, savoring what emerges quietly within. Much gratitude to the author for his rare contribution." (Christopher K. Germer, Harvard Medical School and co-editor, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy)

"These wonderfully literate, compelling, knowing pages summon the reader to wonder about life's whys and wherefores, its purposes and meanings... A shining, even entrancing vision of what it is possible to do and to be." (Robert Coles, author of the Spiritual Lives of Children)

"Robert Langan's Minding What Matters makes connections I might never have seen for myself. In his guiding hands, Dharma becomes the living practice of life itself." (Lin Jensen, author of Bad Dog! A Memoir of Love, Beauty, and Redemption in Dark Places)

"In this fascinating book Robert Langan opens up not simply the practice of psychoanlaysis, but also the writing of it. At once informative and evocative, a rare combination these days in psychoanalysis, Langan's new book turns on turns of phrase and rythmn that are often startling and always suggestive. Very few books now give psychoanalysis a chance; Minding What Matters is a wonderful and timely reminder of the romance of psychoanalysis, of what Lacan called psychoanalytic opportunity." (Adam Philips, author of Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored)

"Consider the stereotype of the seemingly all-knowing, strikingly intellectual psychoanalyst. Then consider the stereotype of the all-knowing, strikingly profound Buddhist monk or scholar. Now combine the two. What suddenly emerges is an impression of Robert Langan, author of the fantastic Minding What Matters: Psychotherapy and the Buddha Within. This book not only tells us about the many correlations between psychoanalysis and Buddhism, but also serves as a great introductory text into Buddhist thought. [ . . . ] Langan's writing style is almost like an example of Buddhism. It is very creative and flows so smoothly that the reader often feels like s/he is being led on a journey, hearing stories from a trusted elder along the way. Humility and subtle humor surround each word. [ . . . ] Langan is to be commended for producing this phenomenal, much-welcomed addition to the growing literature on psychoanalysis and Buddhism." (Division 39 Newsletter)

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