Advice Not Given Book Summary - Advice Not Given Book explained in key points
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Advice Not Given summary

Mark Epstein

A Guide to Getting Over Yourself

4.2 (90 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Advice Not Given by Mark Epstein explores the similarities between psychotherapy and meditation, offering a new perspective on how the two can work together to create a more fulfilling life. Epstein encourages readers to look inward and embrace the present moment.

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    Advice Not Given
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    Meditation is about living in the present, and sound meditation is a good place to start.

    If people have a problem with meditation, it’s likely due to the bad practice of trying to meditate with a strict goal in mind such as becoming a happier or more relaxed person. This is the wrong approach since being goal-oriented is a way of fixating on the future, and meditation is all about bringing yourself into the present.

    However, being present is easier said than done. For most of us, it’s downright difficult to simply sit quietly and not obsess over past regrets or future worries.

    If you were to stop what you’re doing right now and try to sit calmly in the present moment, it could very well be a matter of seconds before you’re caught up in all the tasks that need to be done by the end of the week. Or instead, you might return to some negative feelings you have around a previous encounter where someone’s feelings were hurt.

    Unfortunately, this is how the brain commonly operates: it puts you into an imaginary world full of obsessive thoughts where you worry about the future and replay past conflicts – all of which prevents you from living the present moment.

    There are two primary reasons why the brain prefers to stay away from the present.

    The first is that it’s new and unpredictable. Our various senses are picking up new stimuli every moment, which means our sensations are constantly changing from one moment to the next.

    Second, when there’s something unpleasant, the brain returns to old, familiar thoughts. So, rather than deal with the scary, new, unpredictable present, it retreats to the reliable mental terrain of common anxieties.

    However, with practice, you can get the brain used to living in the present. This is worth doing because it has many benefits, including less stress and a healthier immune system.

    To help your mind get used to the present, start with sound meditation.

    You can do this by finding a peaceful and comfortable place to sit and close your eyes. Then, focus on the sounds that are all around you. As you’re doing this, make a mental note of the sensation itself without judgment or creating a scenario in your mind. For example, just think, that’s the loud sound of a baby crying. Or, that’s a soft sound of wind blowing. Let the sounds be sounds, and let them pass freely without interpretation.

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    What is Advice Not Given about?

    Advice Not Given (2018) provides a fresh perspective on the practice of meditation from author Mark Epstein, an experienced psychiatrist who can attest to its therapeutic benefits. Epstein provides newcomers with a practical approach to meditation as he dispels the common misconceptions about the practice while offering clinical examples of how helpful it can be to our mental health.

    Advice Not Given Review

    Advice Not Given (2018) by Mark Epstein explores the wisdom of the ancient practice of Buddhism and its practical applications in modern life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Epstein presents a unique perspective by combining his expertise as a psychotherapist with Buddhist teachings, offering readers a fresh approach to self-understanding and personal growth.
    • The book challenges conventional thinking, encouraging readers to let go of their fixed beliefs and embrace a more open-minded and accepting mindset.
    • Epstein's real-life stories and personal experiences make the book relatable and engaging, ensuring readers are captivated throughout the journey of self-discovery.

    Best quote from Advice Not Given

    It can be tempting to use meditation to resist change rather than opening oneself to the ceaseless flow we are made of.

    —Mark Epstein
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    Who should read Advice Not Given?

    • Meditation newcomers
    • Students of mental health
    • Anyone interested in Buddhism

    About the Author

    Mark Epstein is a New York City psychiatrist whose experiences have provided him with a unique interest in the connections between psychotherapy and Buddhist meditation practices. He has written several books exploring this connection, including The Trauma of Everyday Life (2013).

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    Advice Not Given FAQs 

    What is the main message of Advice Not Given?

    The main message of Advice Not Given is to explore the power of mindfulness and psychotherapy in personal growth.

    How long does it take to read Advice Not Given?

    The reading time for Advice Not Given varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Advice Not Given a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Advice Not Given is a thought-provoking read that offers valuable insights into our inner life. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Advice Not Given?

    The author of Advice Not Given is Mark Epstein.

    What to read after Advice Not Given?

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