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Gunn, R.W. (2010). Into the Mountain Stream: Psychotherapy and Buddhist Experience, Paul Cooper (Ed.), Jacob Aronson, New York, 2007, 212 pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 70(2):217-218.

(2010). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 70(2):217-218

Into the Mountain Stream: Psychotherapy and Buddhist Experience, Paul Cooper (Ed.), Jacob Aronson, New York, 2007, 212 pp.

Review by:
Robert W. Gunn

Writing from the heart as well as the mind, each of the authors presented in this volume is engaged in examining themselves and shaping their lives according to their twin commitments to depth psychology and Buddhist practice.

Whereas high-quality dialogues between psychology and Buddhism abound aplenty, as the subtitle of this book underscores, these authors are not content with a theoretical discussion about these disciplines, but are intent upon giving full expression to their personal experiences as they strive to maintain and integrate their psychological and Buddhist practices as a way of living. From personal encounters with death, to the conflict between a radical politics and the attraction to the bourgeois lifestyle of a comfortable professional, and the transcendence discovered in playing basketball, these pages sing of the conscientious effort that each of the authors manifest in their individual pursuit of personal and professional depth and integrity.

This endeavor comes through cogently and succinctly in each author's unique voice. For instance, Mark Finn struggles with an uneasy conscience as he considers the class and race divide that separates most Buddhist and psychoanalytic practitioners in the United States from others, and worries about bourgeois complacency and comfort. Barry Magid interweaves his experience as a psychoanalyst trained in self-psychology with his work as a Zen teacher. Jeffrey Eaton describes his Tibetan Buddhist training and how it relates to his psychoanalytical training, focusing on the compassion that is hard wrung out of attention to hate and fear and the impact of important people in his life, which he describes as a movement from “nowhere” to “now here.

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