Recommended Books

Meditation Instruction:

Zen Meditation In Plain English, John Daishin Buksbazen, Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2002.

The Blooming of a Lotus: Guided Meditation for Achieving the Miracle of Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.

Related to psychotherapy:

Going On Being, Mark Epstein, M.D. New York: Broadway Books, 2001.

Open to Desire, Mark Epstein, M.D. New York: Gotham Books, 2005.

Transformation at the Base: Fifty Verses on the Nature of Consciousness, Thich Nhat Hanh, Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2001.

Interbeing, Thich Nhat Hanh, Delhi: Full Circle, 1997.

Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil, Stephen Batchelor, New York: Riverhead Books, 2004.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki, Weatherhill, 1970.

Free Play: The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts, Stephen Nachmanovitch, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1990.

The Courage To Be, Paul Tillich New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952.

The Four Noble Truths, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, New Delhi: Tushita Mahayana Meditation Centre, 1982.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813 –1855),offers many deep insights into the experience and value of anxiety. He values anxiety as a uniquely human experience and one that cannot be escaped and that should be understood and even used to embrace freedom, anxiety being an experience of the possibility of possibilities, and have faith and forge a realization of one’s purpose in life. Although I have posted below some excerpts from two of his books—Works of Love, and The Concept of Anxiety–which should be thought provoking, it is best to read these books as Kierkegaard intended, which includes wrestling with him, deliberating while you consider his treatment of anxiety. Kierkegaard teaches us to create and live by subjective truth as distinguished from merely absorbing information and  relying on data and measuring our symptoms. 

“Every human being must go through the adventure of being anxious in order that he may not perish either by never having been in anxiety or by succumbing in anxiety.”

“Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.”

“If a human being were a beast or an angel he could not be in anxiety. Because he is a synthesis, he can be in anxiety; and the more profoundly he is in anxiety the greater is the man—yet not in the sense usually understood, in which anxiety is about something external, about something outside a person, but in the sense that he himself produces the anxiety.”

“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. A person keeps this anxiety at a distance by looking at the many round about who are related to him as kin and friends, but the anxiety is still there, nevertheless, and he hardly dares think of how he would feel if all this were taken away.”

“Anxiety is freedom’s possibility, and only such anxiety is through faith absolutely educative, because it consumes all finite ends and discovers all deceptiveness. And no Grand Inquisitor has such dreadful torments in readiness as anxiety has, and no secret agent knows as cunningly as anxiety how to attack his suspect in his weakest moment or to make alluring the trap in which he will be caught, and no discerning judge understands how to interrogate and examine the accused as does anxiety, which never lets the accused escape, neither through amusement, nor by noise, nor during work, neither by day nor by night.”


“Whoever is educated by anxiety is educated by possibility, and only he who is educated by possibility is educated according to his infinitude.  Possibility is often described as the possibility for happiness, etc. but really that’s just a pretext for people to become self-important.”

“No, in possibility all things are equally possible, and whoever has truly been brought up by possibility has grasped the terrible as well as the joyful. So when such a person graduates from the school of possibility, and he knows better than a child knows his ABC’s that he can demand absolutely nothing of life and that the terrible, perdition, and annihilation live  next door to every man, and when he has thoroughly learned that every anxiety about which he was anxious came upon him in the next moment—he will give actuality another explanation, he will praise actuality, an even when it rests heavily upon him, he will remember that it nevertheless is far, far lighter than possibility was. Only in this way can possibility be educative, because finiteness and the finite relations in which every individual is assigned a place, whether they be small, or everyday, or world-historical, educate only finitely, and a person can always persuade them, always coax something else out of them, always bargain, always escape from them tolerably well, always keep himself a little on the outside, always prevent himself from absolutely learning something from them; and if he does this the individual must again have possibility in himself and himself develop that from which he is to learn, even though in the next moment that from which he is to learn does not at all acknowledge that it is formed by him but absolutely deprives him of the power”.

‘However, in order that an individual may thus be educated absolutely and infinitely by the possibility, he must be honest toward possibility and have faith”.


“When the discoveries of possibility are honestly administered, possibility will discover all the finitudes, but it will idealize them in the form of infinity and in anxiety overwhelm the individual until he again overcomes them in the anticipation of faith”.