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.
"Bayda writes with exceptional clarity and simplicity about the awakened life. He has a gift for describing 'ordinary mind,' or the customary thoughts, feelings, and experiences of everyday life. His style is as plainspoken as Pema Chödrön's. He deserves membership in the ranks of respected meditation teacher-authors."—Publishers Weekly
"With clarity and compassion, Bayda applies Zen Buddhist principles to everyday life. He explains how all experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, help us to discover our 'path' to wisdom and an open heart. Presented here are realistic suggestions to help us survive the journey."—Library Journal
"Ezra Bayda wisely translates the Eastern spiritual belief into an extremely useful handbook for practice. Being Zen is humble and direct, which reminds me most of Shunryu Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. It is what its title states—not an explanation of Buddhism or Zen, but an essential guide to its daily practice. Bayda's is a gentle, sharing voice that evenly embraces humor and sincerity, bringing reason and heart-sense to our most irrational behaviors."—Parabola
"A skillful wedding of mindfulness and Zen—straightforward, simple, and wise."—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart and After the Ecstasy, the Laundry