Taking Our Places

Taking Our Places

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by Norman Fischer
     
 

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This engaging contemplation of maturity addresses the long neglected topic of what it means to grow up, and provides a hands–on guide for skilfully navigating the demands of our adult lives.

Growing up happens whether we like it or not, but maturity must be cultivated. Challenged to consider his own sense of maturity while mentoring a group of

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Overview

This engaging contemplation of maturity addresses the long neglected topic of what it means to grow up, and provides a hands–on guide for skilfully navigating the demands of our adult lives.

Growing up happens whether we like it or not, but maturity must be cultivated. Challenged to consider his own sense of maturity while mentoring a group of teenage boys, Fischer began to investigate our preconceptions about what it means to be "an adult" and shows how crucial true maturity is to leading an engaged, fulfilled life. Taking Our Places details the marks of a mature person and shows how these attributes can help alleviate our suffering and enrich our relationships. Discussing such qualities as awareness, responsibility, humour, acceptance, and humility, Fischer brings a fresh and at times surprising new perspective that can turn old ideas on their heads and reinvigorate our understanding of what it means to be mature.

Editorial Reviews

Jack Kornfield
“Thoughtful, wise, considered, beautiful. Helps you ask the questions of the heart.”
Joseph Goldstein
“Taking Our Places is wise, compassionate, poetic, and deeply moving. Growing up (at any age) at its best.”
Sharon Salzberg
“A beautiful expression of deep spiritual maturity by a teacher whose wisdom shines brightly on every page.”
Sylvia Boorstein
“Zen-like in its elegant simplicity, this wonderfully wise presentation of maturity is inspirational.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Remarkably profound, moving, and far-ranging....Every word is an occasion to align yourself in the most practical of ways with what it might mean for you to be your best self and follow a path of wise action, compassion, and integrity.”
Rabbi - Alan Lew
"Warm and endlessly wise... offers indispensable answers to the only question worth asking; What do we do with this life?"
Noah Levine
“This book beautifully illustrates that true maturity is more than a physical endeavor, it is a lifetime process.”
Charlotte Joko Beck
“A refreshing book! For anyone who has struggled with their practice amid the complexities, frustrations, and ambiguities of real life.”
Mark Epstein
“Fischer offers us a lifetime of experience in making sense of Zen.”
Rabbi Alan Lew
“Warm and endlessly wise... offers indispensable answers to the only question worth asking; What do we do with this life?”
Jewish Bulletin
“Remarkable for its clarity in expressing complex concepts... this work focuses Fischer’s intellectual power into visceral, emotional reading.”
Publishers Weekly
"We usually take maturity for granted-one of life's givens," says Fischer, a former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. Many people equate biological age with spiritual maturity, a fundamental mistake. In this warm and simple book, Fischer draws from his experience as a spiritual mentor to four teenage boys and his well-honed dharma knowledge to impart nuggets of wisdom about "truly growing up." While the book draws most heavily upon Buddhist examples-particularly the guru-disciple relationships that are a staple of the Zen tradition-it is wide-reaching in its approach, and would be accessible to people from other faith traditions or no faith tradition. There are Jewish talmudic stories and Christian examples, as well as relevant illustrations from popular culture and Fischer's own life. Fischer explores several values and activities that contribute to spiritual maturity, including listening, persistence, connection, meditation, vowing, and right conduct. Overall, he says, these values help people cultivate responsibility-the ability to respond appropriately in changing situations. While there's nothing that is earth-shattering in all this, the book has a freshness forged out of its stubborn insistence that spiritual maturity is something to consciously strive for. As Fischer writes, "The journey to adulthood can be lackluster if we only drift, but it can be profoundly valuable if we completely say yes to it and are willing to travel on wholeheartedly." (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Fischer, former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, and Brach, a clinical psychologist and Insight Meditation teacher, draw on years of experience as Buddhist practitioners to help form their respective theses. Fischer bases his discussion on an examination of what it truly means to be mature. Having taken on the task of mentoring a group of adolescent boys, Fischer describes how the process informed and was informed by his spiritual practice, leading him to the conclusion that genuine spiritual practice naturally reflects a genuine maturity. Brach takes as her starting point what she refers to as the "trance of unworthiness," in which we consider ourselves somehow damaged or incomplete. Working with Buddhist ideas of compassion and mindfulness, she describes "radical acceptance" as the path that can lead to a more open and fulfilling life. In both cases, the grounding in Buddhism helps the authors guide those who have entrusted themselves to their care. Of the two books, Fischer's has more to do with Buddhism directly, treating such things as Buddhist precepts, meditation, and the notion of vowing, but finally it has a greater affinity with self-help and pop psychology titles than with Buddhist philosophy or practice. This is even more true of the Brach title, as her tone is more logical and oriented toward psychology. While experienced practitioners will recognize her concepts, drawn largely from Insight Meditation, the language and methodology and the numerous case studies tend to blur the distinctions between clinical psychology and Buddhist practice. Neither title breaks any new ground, and neither will satisfy readers seeking to clarify their ideas about Buddhist practice. But both books have merit as sources of encouragement and support for readers and would be suitable for public libraries with an interest in self-improvement titles.-Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060587192
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/04/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
474,570
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.47(d)

What People are saying about this

Joseph Goldstein
“Taking Our Places is wise, compassionate, poetic, and deeply moving. Growing up (at any age) at its best.”
Alan Lew
“Warm and endlessly wise... offers indispensable answers to the only question worth asking; What do we do with this life?”
Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Remarkably profound, moving, and far-ranging....Every word is an occasion to align yourself in the most practical of ways with what it might mean for you to be your best self and follow a path of wise action, compassion, and integrity.”
Mark Epstein
“Fischer offers us a lifetime of experience in making sense of Zen.”
Charlotte Joko Beck
“A refreshing book! For anyone who has struggled with their practice amid the complexities, frustrations, and ambiguities of real life.”
Noah Levine
“This book beautifully illustrates that true maturity is more than a physical endeavor, it is a lifetime process.”
Sylvia Boorstein
“Zen-like in its elegant simplicity, this wonderfully wise presentation of maturity is inspirational.”
Sharon Salzberg
“A beautiful expression of deep spiritual maturity by a teacher whose wisdom shines brightly on every page.”

Read More

Meet the Author

Norman Fischer is a Zen priest, teacher, poet, former abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, and founder of The Everyday Zen Foundation, an organization created to broaden the reach of engaged Buddhist practice. Fischer leads retreats and workshops across the country and in Canada and Mexico. He is the author of Opening to You: Zen-Inspired Translations of the Psalms, and has published several books of poetry. In addition to giving Zen lectures and retreats, he leads Jewish meditation classes and is also actively involved in interfaith dialogue.

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Taking Our Places 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago