Everyday Zen: Love and Work

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Overview

Charlotte Joko Beck offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living?love, relationships, work, fear, ambition, and suffering. Everyday Zen shows us how to live each moment to the fullest. This Plus edition includes an interview with the author.

An American Zen Master offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living. ...

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Everyday Zen

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Overview

Charlotte Joko Beck offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living—love, relationships, work, fear, ambition, and suffering. Everyday Zen shows us how to live each moment to the fullest. This Plus edition includes an interview with the author.

An American Zen Master offers a warm, engaging, uniquely American approach to using Zen to deal with the problems of daily living.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert Aiktken
“An extraordinary book for ordinary people. It speaks about ultimate matters with ultimate simplicity.”
David Steindl-Rast
“An extraordinary book for ordinary people. It speaks about ultimate matters with ultimate simplicity.”
Jack Kornfield
“Deals with the most important spiritual practice of all--how we can live awakened in our daily life.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061285899
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Series: Plus Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 231,037
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Charlotte Joko Beck, who passed away in 2011, was the founder and former head teacher at the Zen Center in San Diego.

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Read an Excerpt

Everyday Zen
Love and Work

Chapter One

Beginning Zen Practice

My dog doesn't worry about the meaning of life. She may worry if she doesn't get her breakfast, but she doesn't sit around worrying about whether she will get fulfilled or liberated or enlightened. As long as she gets some food and a little affection, her life is fine. But we human beings are not like dogs. We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.

To some degree we all find life difficult, perplexing, and oppressive. Even when it goes well, as it may for a time, we worry that it probably won't keep on that way. Depending on our personal history, we arrive at adulthood with very mixed feelings about this life. If I were to tell you that your life is already perfect, whole, and complete just as it is, you would think I was crazy. Nobody believes his or her life is perfect. And yet there is something within each of us that basically knows we are boundless, limitless. We are caught in the contradiction of finding life a rather perplexing puzzle which causes us a lot of misery, and at the same time being dimly aware of the boundless, limitless nature of life. So we begin looking for an answer to the puzzle.

The first way of looking is to seek a solution outside ourselves. At first this may be on a very ordinary level. There are many people in the world who feel that if only they had a bigger car, a nicer house, better vacations, a more understanding boss, or a more interesting partner, then their life would work. We all gothrough that one. Slowly we wear out most of our "if onlies." "If only I had this, or that, then my life would work Not one of us isn't, to some degree, still wearing out our "if onlies." First of all we wear out those on the gross levels. Then we shift our search to more subtle levels. Finally, in looking for the thing outside of ourselves that we hope is going to complete us, we turn to a spiritual discipline. Unfortunately we tend to bring into this new search the same orientation as before. Most people who come to the Zen Center don't think a Cadillac will do it, but they think that enlightenment will. Now they've got a new cookie, a new "if only." "If only I could understand what realization is all about, I would be happy." "If only I could have at least a little enlightenment experience, I would be happy." Coming into a practice like Zen, we bring our usual notions that we are going to get somewhere--become enlightened--and get all the cookies that have eluded us in the past.

Our whole life consists of this little subject looking outside itself for an object. But if you take something that is limited, like body and mind, and look for something outside it, that something becomes an object and must be limited too. So you have something limited looking for something limited and you just end up with more of the same folly that has made you miserable.

We have all spent many years building up a conditioned view of life. There is "me" and there is this "thing" out there that is either hurting me or pleasing me. We tend to run our whole life trying to avoid all that hurts or displeases us, noticing the objects, people, or situations that we think will give us pain or pleasure, avoiding one and pursuing the other. Without exception, we all do this. We remain separate from our life, looking at it, analyzing it, judging it, seeking to answer the questions, 'What am I going to get out of it? Is it going to give me pleasure or comfort or should I run away from it?" We do this from morning until night. Underneath our nice, friendly facades there is great unease. If I were to scratch below the surface of anyone I would find fear, pain, and anxiety running amok. We all have ways to cover them up. We overeat, over-drink, overwork; we watch too much television. We are always doing something to cover up our basic existential anxiety. Some people live that way until the day they die. As the years go by, it gets worse and worse. What might not look so bad when you are twenty-five looks awful by the time you are fifty. We all know people who might as well be dead; they have so contracted into their limited viewpoints that it is as painful for those around them as it is for themselves. The flexibility and joy and flow of life are gone. And that rather grim possibility faces all of us, unless we wake up to the fact that we need to work with our life, we need to practice. We have to see through the mirage that there is an "I" separate from "that." Our practice is to close the gap. Only in that instant when we and the object become one can we see what our life is.

Enlightenment is not something you achieve. It is the absence of something. All your life you have been going forward after something, pursuing some goal. Enlightenment is dropping all that. But to talk about it is of little use. The practice has to be done by each individual. There is no substitute. We can read about it until we are a thousand years old and it won't do a thing for us. We all have to practice, and we have to practice with all of our might for the rest of our lives.

Everyday Zen
Love and Work
. Copyright © by Charlotte J. Beck. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Preface v
Acknowledgments ix
I Beginnings 1
Beginning Zen Practice 3
Practicing This Very Moment 8
Authority 15
The Bottleneck of Fear 17
II Practice 21
What Practice Is Not 23
What Practice Is 25
The Fire of Attention 31
Pushing for Enlightenment Experiences 35
The Price of Practice 39
The Reward of Practice 42
III Feelings 47
A Bigger Container 49
Opening Pandora's Box 53
"Do Not Be Angry" 56
False Fear 64
No Hope 66
Love 71
IV Relationships 75
The Search 77
Practicing with Relationships 82
Experiencing and Behavior 90
Relationships Don't Work 93
Relationship Is Not to Each Other 97
V Suffering 103
True Suffering and False Suffering 105
Renunciation 110
It's OK 114
Tragedy 119
The Observing Self 122
VI Ideals 129
Running in Place 131
Aspiration and Expectation 133
Seeing Through the Superstructure 136
Prisoners of Fear 144
Great Expectations 148
VII Boundaries 153
The Razor's Edge 155
New Jersey Does Not Exist 163
Religion 168
Enlightenment 173
VIII Choices 177
From Problems to Decisions 179
Turning Point 186
Shut the Door 189
Commitment 193
IX Service 199
Thy Will Be Done 201
No Exchange 203
The Parable of Mushin 207
Notes 213
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2013

    Flameclaw

    Later tonight.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Hunting patrol signups

    Put your location and name and you may go. Remember to bring it to the freshkill pile at result 5. Thanks!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    Not a Buddhist? Me either!

    I have been interested in philosophy since early high school. Being a typical American, I've been told a lot of stuff about Buddhism which now I find, are totaly misleading. You really can be of any religion and still practice Buddhism. What this book did for me was change my way of looking at life. You may not be into meditation, as this is something I've yet to try. But the author does give some great insight on how to look at our lives. I was already transforming before I even got through half the book. A lot of things discussed were ideas I had already found out on my own. In a sense, I found this to be comparable to the scene in the Matrix. Neo had a choice, to learn the truth, or to believe that he was living in the truth. And in a way, this book can be that little pill, if you are willing to be open minded.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2005

    An angry man no more

    Reading this book has caused changes in me. I learned what it means to live in the moment. I learned how my expectations were making it impossible for me to live at peace with myself and others. The I now has an observer thanks to the instructions in this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2001

    Best Zen Book for Beginners

    This book is probably the most approachable, understandable, and realistic guide to integrating Zen into everyday life ever written. Zen is often a very esoteric, lofty, unfathomable subject full of nuance and almost mystical qualities. This can make Zen seem detached from the real world, and turns some people away. Charlotte Joko Beck has written a manual for living life as a human being. Her writing is very practical and in a style that we practical Americans will appreciate and benefit from. If everyone in the U.S. would read this book, there would be MUCH less road rage, broken families, violence and hatred. We'd all get a lot more out of our lives, drink less, fear death less, and appreciate each other and our own lives just as they are. This little book changed my life. Thank you Charlotte Joko Beck!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2001

    Simple truths

    The message of this book is a simple one: That life, just as it is at any moment, is all that it can be and therefore perfect. Highlighting the troubles we cause ourselves by living life not in the moment, but out of a confused fog of fantasies and 'what ifs,' the author challenges us to detach ourselves from our mental defense mechanisms and dare to be content with life as it is. Perhaps the main shortcoming of this book is that it is much more detailed about the 'deconstructive' aspects of Zen than exploring enlightenment.

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