Going to Pieces without Falling Apart

Some of my favorite quotes from “Going to Pieces without Falling Apart” by Mark Epstein. This is one of the books that has inspired me the most to work with “letting go” and consciousness practices.

“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.”

There is a story of a monk who has not been able to reach enlightenment after many years and he heads into the mountains to seek it in isolation and a cave. On the way, he meets an old man with a weighty bundle on his back, and of course, the old man was a bodhisattva expressly there to help him. The monk asks the old man if he knows about enlightenment, and

“at this point, the old man simply dropped his bundle onto the ground. Just like that, the monk was enlightened. In an instant, he, too, had put down his whole defensive organization, the entire burden. But the newly awakened monk was still a bit confused, and asked, ‘Now what?’ And the bodhisattva, smiling, silently reached down, picked up his bundle, and continued down the path.” “Putting down our burdens does not mean forsaking the conventional world in which our compensatory selves and thinking minds are necessary, but it means being in that world with the consciousness of one who is not deceived by appearances.”