Mark Epstein quote

"Anxiety and desire are two, often conflicting, orientations to the unknown. Both are tilted toward the future. Desire implies a willingness, or a need, to engage this unknown, while anxiety suggests a fear of it. Desire takes one out of oneself, into the possibility or relationship, but it also takes one deeper into oneself. Anxiety turns one back on oneself, but only onto the self that is already known."

Mark Epstein

Born: 1953

Occupation: Author

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More quotes of Mark Epstein

Mark Epstein

If aspects of the person remain undigested-cut off, denied, projected, rejected, indulged, or otherwise unassimilated-they become the points around which the core forces of greed, hatred and delusion attach...

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Mark Epstein

Anxiety and desire are two, often conflicting, orientations to the unknown. Both are tilted toward the future. Desire implies a willingness, or a need, to engage this unknown, while anxiety suggests a...

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Mark Epstein

Meditation did not relieve me of my anxiety so much as flesh it out. It took my anxious response to the world, about which I felt a lot of confusion and shame, and let me understand it more completely....

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Mark Epstein

There is a yearning that is as spiritual as it is sensual. Even when it degenerates into addiction, there is something salvageable from the original impulse that can only be described as sacred. Something...

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Mark Epstein

Trauma never goes away completely, it changes perhaps, softens some with time, but never completely goes away.

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Mark Epstein

Buddhism teaches us that happiness does not come from any kind of acquisitiveness, be it material or psychological. Happiness comes from letting go. In Buddhism, the impenetrable, separate, and individuated...

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Mark Epstein

When we seek happiness through accumulation, either outside of ourselves-from other people, relationships, or material goods-or from our own self-development, we are missing the essential point. In either...

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Mark Epstein

It is exceedingly difficult to maintain a sense of absence without turning that absence into some kind of presence

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Mark Epstein

The willingness to face traumas - be they large, small, primitive or fresh - is the key to healing from them. They may never disappear in the way we think they should, but maybe they don’t need to. Trauma...

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Mark Epstein

Desire is a teacher: When we immerse ourselves in it without guilt, shame, or clinging, it can show us something special about our own minds that allows us to embrace life fully.

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Mark Epstein

Meditation is not a means of forgetting the ego; it is a method of using the ego to observe and tame its own manifestations.

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Mark Epstein

Uncovering your real desires can be terrifying. It can also set you spectacularly free.

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Mark Epstein

It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past.

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Mark Epstein

If things do not exist as fixed, independent entities, then how can they die? Our notion of death as the sudden expiration of that which was once so real starts to unwind. If things do not exist in their...

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Mark Epstein

To be free, to come to terms with our lives, we have to have a direct experience of ourselves as we really are, warts and all.

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Mark Epstein

To free desire from the tendency to cling, we have to be willing to stumble over ourselves.

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Mark Epstein

In building a path through the self to the far shore of awareness, we have to carefully pick our way through our own wilderness. If we can put our minds into a place of surrender, we will have an easier...

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Mark Epstein

The picture we present to ourselves of who we think we ought to be obscures who we really are.

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Mark Epstein

Depressed people think they know themselves, but maybe they only know depression.

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Mark Epstein

We are looking for a way to feel more real, but we do not realize that to feel more real we have to push ourselves further into the unknown.

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Mark Epstein

We are what we think, having become what we thought.

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Mark Epstein

As my Buddhist teachers have shown me, wisdom emerges in the space around words as much as from language itself.

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Mark Epstein

While the primary function of formal Buddhist meditation is to create the possibility of the experience of "being," my work as a therapist has shown me that the demands of intimate life can be just as...

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Related quote

Mark Epstein

Anxiety and desire are two, often conflicting, orientations to the unknown. Both are tilted toward the future. Desire implies a willingness, or a need, to engage this unknown, while anxiety suggests a...

Read more


Dalai Lama

Lack of understanding of the true nature of happiness, it seems to me, is the principal reason why people inflict sufferings on others. They think either that the other's pain may somehow be a cause of...

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Rajneesh

Desire means you are dragged out of the moment; that creates a tension, that creates anxiety, that creates hope. And then finally hope turns sour, becomes frustration. Each hope leads you into anguish....

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Marcel Proust

To understand a profound thought is to have, at the moment one understands it, a profound thought oneself; and this demands some effort, a genuine descent to the heart of oneself . . . Only desire and...

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G. I. Gurdjieff

Man has no individual i. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small "i"s, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each...

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Anthony Bourdain

Norman Mailer described the desire to be cool as a "decision to encourage the psychopath in oneself, to explore that domain of experience where security is boredom and therefore sickness and one exists...

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Victoria Alexander

Suicide is unspeakable, and to speak it is somehow to bring it into a human, imaginable sphere, even if only in the moment of speaking. The need to tell is both a need to tell oneself and a need to be...

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Mark Epstein

Meditation did not relieve me of my anxiety so much as flesh it out. It took my anxious response to the world, about which I felt a lot of confusion and shame, and let me understand it more completely....

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Alain de Botton

Life seems to be a process of replacing one anxiety with another and substituting one desire for another--which is not to say that we should never strive to overcome any of our anxieties or fulfil any...

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Freya Stark

One can only really travel if one lets oneself go and takes what every place brings without trying to turn it into a healthy private pattern of one's own and I suppose that is the difference between travel...

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Chogyam Trungpa

Sometimes one touches on a very painful spot where one is almost too shy to look into it, but somehow one still has to go through it. And by going into it, one finally achieves a real command of oneself....

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Rajneesh

Mind is a crowd of many desires; it is not a single desire. Mind is multi-psychic, and all the fragments are falling apart in different directions. It is a miracle how we go on keeping ourselves together;...

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Shirley Hazzard

One would always want to think of oneself as being on the side of love, ready to recognize it and wish it well -but, when confronted with it in others, one so often resented it, questioned its true nature,...

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John Ortberg

Never worry alone. When anxiety grabs my mind, it is self-perpetuating. Worrisome thoughts reproduce faster than rabbits, so one of the most powerful ways to stop the spiral of worry is simply to disclose...

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Soren Kierkegaard

Deep within every human being there still lives the anxiety over the possibility of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the millions and millions in this enormous household. One...

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Peter Høeg

The fear for oneself, that one can do something about. Upon it one can turn the light of awareness. But when one is no longer worrying about oneself, then the fear comes for other people and, after that,...

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D. H. Lawrence

The only history is a mere question of one's struggle inside oneself. But that is the joy of it. One need neither discover Americas nor conquer nations, and yet one has as great a work as Columbus or Alexander,...

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Oswald Chambers

Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for...

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Alain de Botton

We are tempted to believe that certain achievements and possessions will give us enduring satisfaction. We are invited to imagine ourselves scaling the steep cliff face of happiness in order to reach a...

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Takuan Soho

Consider the core of the mind to be a wagon, with will-power to be carried about in it. Push it to a place where there can be failure, and there will be failure. Push it to a place where there can be success,...

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Henry Ward Beecher

Education is the knowledge of how to use the whole of oneself. Many men use but one or two faculties out of the score with which they are endowed. A man is educated who knows how to make a tool of every...

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“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss