Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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.
force ourselves to say “yes” any more than we can meaningfully say the popular phrase “No problem!” “No problem!” does have, on a profound level, a real meaning; but it falls far short as long as we hold on to our deep-seated desire not to have any problems. That we’ll try to hold on to this desire is a given: it’s what humans do. Nevertheless, in living the practice life, our only real option is to persevere in including all of our experience, because our only other option is to keep pushing
are ignored or not appreciated. Most of the time we don’t even see how we leak away energy through anger, how we narrow our life, or how we perpetuate our suffering through our attachment to life’s going a particular way. Most of the time we simply follow one of the two characteristic ways we have been taught to deal with anger when it arises. First, if our conditioning tells us that it’s not OK to be angry, we will suppress our feelings. Even when we know this approach is not good for our
a necessary part of the practice life. When fear arises for me now, along with the mind’s desire for it to go away, there is also an almost instant recognition of what is going on. Do I try to let it go? Rarely. That would be just another way of trying to get rid of it, of trying to avoid my life. Instead, I breathe into the heartspace, inviting the fear in with a willingness to feel its texture, its whatness. But at the same time, I know that it is not me. My heart could be pounding and my
dealing with the family scene. Afterward, as I sat in my car in the hospital parking lot, I couldn’t stop the tears. In part I was seeing how much pain we inflict on one another out of self-protection. In part I was feeling how intact the shell of protection around my own heart was. But mostly the tears came from feeling that shell cracking open, with love flowing out, ready to be offered. This was a taste of my true aspiration: to learn to live from the open heart, to give—not from “should,” not
in helping us to see the holes in the Swiss cheese for what they are. As we break our identification with our beliefs, we no longer call them “me.” And as we stop believing in each little hole, we relate increasingly from the clarity of the bigger whole. But we must realize that thought-labeling does not come naturally or easily. The precision, honesty, and perseverance required to do this practice meticulously may take years to develop. Clarifying our belief systems is about becoming aware. But