When life becomes impossibly difficult, what does it take to pick yourself up off the floor and face another day? Mark Matousek has learned to survive crisis by studying with the world’s great spiritual teachers and by facing his own darkest days. He’s also interviewed luminaries from all walks of life, from Jon Kabat-Zinn to Annie Lennox, and learned their stories of devastation and survival. Now he distills all that wisdom into a simple, gentle understanding of what it takes to carry on even when it’s hard to remember why you should. He explains, “The truth is that we’re hardwired for crisis. What anyone realizes who goes through a seemingly impossible situation is that every time you walk through something you think you can’t walk through, you’re stronger from it and your bigger from it, and you realize that you have capacities and strengths that you didn’t know you had. We’re hardwired for this kind of evolution through catastrophe.” If you’ve ever faced a dark night when you weren’t sure which way to go, you’ll welcome the quiet strength in Mark Matousek’s words of recognition. He’s been there, too.
Mark Matousek is a contributing editor to Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, and O: The Oprah Magazine and has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Utne Reader, Yoga Journal, and many others. He is co-author with Andrew Harvey of Dialogues with a Modern Mystic (Quest Books 1994); author of two award-winning memoires, Sex , Death, Enlightenment: A True Story (Riverhead Books 1997); The Boy He Left Behind: A Man’s Search for His Lost Father (Riverhead Books 2000); and When You’re Falling, Dive: Lessons in the Art of Living (Bloomsbury 2008). To learn more about the work of Mark Matousek go to www.markmatousek.com.
Topics Explored in this Dialogue:
- What those who are condemned to die know about living
- Why crisis helps you connect with others in a deeper way
- Why a good imagination will help you survive difficult times
- When it’s better to avoid your fears rather than face them
- What remains when your life falls apart
Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 9/10/2008 Program Number: 3276