Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness

Recommended by the 10% Happier book, this is a sing-songy work that argues for the benefits of psychotherapy with meditation, interspersing ancient stories about Buddha with tales from his own therapy practice in modern day NYC. He ends the book with a story about heading home after a 10 day retreat, sitting in his car with the engine on in the midst of a snowstorm, getting out to sweep the snow off the windows and discovering he’s locked himself out. He’s both annoyed and (with a perfection of detachment) amused, and imagines the meditation center staff joking about him, “Talk about mindfulness- that guy locked his keys in his running car.” The best parts were probably the bits from his own practice. He details one client’s inability to jump the last hurdle in horseback-riding, despite having “soft eyes”, she is given the instruction to focus on the (nonexistent) turn immediately following the jump and so focused, she’s loose enough to make the jump. Another client, a mother with 3 young-uns, has no time to meditate, but he has her use the time while washing the dishes to be mindful, to recognize what’s going on. She discovers a tense and hunched posture that’s been exacerbating her distress. Oops, I lied, actually the best part is this Dalai Lama quote:

The antidote to hatred in the heart, the source of violence, is tolerance. Tolerance is an important virtue of bodhisattvas – it enables you to refrain from reacting angrily to the harm inflicted on you by others. You could call this practice “inner disarmament,” in that a well-developed tolerance makes you free from the compulsion to counter-attack. For the same reason, we also call tolerance the “best armor,” since it protects you from being conquered by hatred itself.