Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life

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9781570628566: Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life

We can use whatever life presents, Ezra Bayda teaches, to strengthen our spiritual practice—including the turmoil of daily life. What we need is the willingness to just be with our experiences—whether they are painful or pleasing—opening ourselves to the reality of our lives without trying to fix or change anything. But doing this requires that we confront our most deeply rooted fears and assumptions in order to gradually become free of the constrictions and suffering they create. Then we can awaken to the loving-kindness that is at the heart of our being.

While many books aspire to bring meditation into everyday experience, Being Zen gives us practical ways to actually do it, introducing techniques that enable the reader to foster qualities essential to continued spiritual awakening. Topics include how to cultivate:

   ·  Perseverance: staying with anger, fear, and other distressing emotions.
   ·  Stillness: abiding with chaotic experiences without becoming overwhelmed.
   ·  Clarity: seeing through the conditioned beliefs and fears that "run" us.
   ·  Direct experience: encountering the physical reality of the present moment—even when that moment is exactly where we don't want to be.
Like Pema Chödrön, the best-selling author of When Things Fall Apart, Ezra Bayda writes with clear, heartfelt simplicity, using his own life stories to illustrate the teachings in an immediate and accessible way that will appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.

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Review:

The paradox of Zen is that learning to just live in the present requires lots of hard work. In Being Zen, seasoned Zen teacher Ezra Bayda unpacks this paradox. He demonstrates the need to just be and then instructs us how to undertake the hard work with precision and persistence. Through personal anecdotes he shows us how we keep ourselves from living a genuine life. Instead, we maintain an ideal image of ourselves by creating strategies that depend on delusive self-images, blind spots, and knee-jerk reactions. He then shows how, by "living the practice life," we can relentlessly observe this process and transform our edifices into open spaces of natural awareness and innate compassion. Bayda offers specific practices for dealing with such automatic emotions as anger and fear, teaching how they can be dampened and eventually dissolved. A "how-to" book in the best sense of the word, Being Zen is about how to just live. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:

Ezra Bayda teaches at Zen Center San Diego. He is also the author of Being Zen, At Home in the Muddy Water, Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts), and Zen Heart.

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