Midwest Book Review
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss (cofounder and codirector of Passages Substance Abuse Treatment Center) is a pocket-sized and highly portable 160-page book presenting practical, spiritual, applicable wisdom from the Eastern philosophy of Zen Buddhism designed to provide the reader with a positive, uplifting message that we can affect and influence the very makeup of our body at a cellular level through what we believe, think, and feel. That when we create happiness and vibrancy within our lives we are better able to adapt to life's inevitable stresses and changes. By learning to deal with stress and change in healthy ways, we create, nurture, and perpetuate 'mindful happiness' in our daily lives. Zen and the Art of Happiness is enthusiastically recommended and 'user friendly' reading for anyone seeking to enhance their spirituality, deal with life's stresses, and improve their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
New Age Retailer
The big-bellied, somewhat eccentric laughing Buddha on the cover tells it all. The author does not believe that happiness depends on being the same size as models in the fashion magazines, finding the perfect mate, filling one's house with cutting-edge electronic gadgets, or studying meditation with the current 'it' guru. . . . The book reflects a long-standing esoteric maxim: We create our own reality. What makes this work different from so many others is the personal energy, knowledge, and insight with which he communicates. He draws on Eastern and Western philosophy, modern science, and personal-sometimes catastrophic-experience to explain why believing circumstances will benefit us is what will, ultimately, cause this to be true. His life has been filled with challenges he has turned into opportunities. He does not lecture to us from a pedestal as an enlightened being. Instead, he speaks as one who has survived the muck and mire and retained his childlike wonder and enthusiasm. Prentiss beckons us to see the world through his eyes and share his joy. It is easy to believe it is possible.
Happiness can be a fickle thing. It can be a snug, magnetic garment, attracting more and more of the same, or it can be an ill-fitting gossamer veil flitting here and there. It all depends on one's psychology, karma, and attitude. This wonderful little book shows that we can overcome the obstacles to happiness. It's for those who want and need change-in expectations, habits, and outlook. Chris Prentiss teaches us how, with a joie de vivre that obviously comes from experience. Use his practical wisdom to get in the habit of being happy-every day. Put this book by your bedside and the Zen of happiness can be yours.
Prentiss (cofounder and codirector, Passages Substance Abuse Treatment Ctr; The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure) has written a charming book that is perhaps not quite as "Zen" as its title might suggest; that is, Prentiss's own engagement with Zen Buddhism is quite sincere, but the book should not be taken as a guide to the spiritual practice. Prentiss's principal sense of Zen is that of awareness of every present moment; armed with that, he shows readers, with humor and zest, how to live in the now and change our futures. For most collections. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A charming book….Shows readers, with humor and zest, how to live in the now and change our futures. For most collections.” -- Library Journal
"Enthusiastically recommended and 'user friendly' reading for anyone seeking to enhance their spirituality, deal with life's stresses, and improve their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being." -- Midwest Book Review
Read an Excerpt
AS YOU BELIEVE, SO IT IS FOR YOU
"The true man sees what the eye sees, and does not add to it something that is not there. He hears what the ears hear, and does not detect imaginary undertones or overtones. He is not busy with hidden meanings."-CHUANG TZU
Acting on the basis of what you believe is what brings about the conditions of your life and the degrees of happiness you have experienced. . . . Take the story of Max. Max owned a thriving sandwich shop. There were almost always people waiting in line to eat at his little shop. He gave away free pickles, free potato chips, sometimes a free soft drink, and his sandwiches were famous for being overstuffed.
One day his son, who lived in a distant city, came to visit. They had a good visit, but as the son was leaving, he told his father, "Since I've been here, I've been observing how you run the sandwich shop, and I have to tell you for your own good that you're making a big mistake giving away all those extras. The country's economy is in bad shape. People are out of work, and they have less money to spend. If you don't cut back on the free items and on your portion sizes, you'll be in a bad way before long too.” His father was amazed, thanked his son, and told him he would consider his advice.
After his son left, Max followed his son's advice. He stopped giving away free items and he cut back on the generous portions of food in his sandwiches. Before long, after many of his disappointed customers had stopped coming, he wrote to his son: "You were right! The country's economy is in bad shape, and I'm experiencing the results of it right here in my sandwich shop!”
The poor economy that the man's son saw all around him was real. Despite the poor economy, though, the father had been running a successful sandwich shop. He didn't realize that times were hard, that many people were out of work, and that money was scarce. He was treating everyone with great generosity and he was reaping the rewards that such actions always bring: a positive, generous outpouring of good things. But after his son told him about the "bad shape” the country was in, he began to act as if it were so, bringing about the only possible result-a negative, fearful, ungenerous experience of life, an experience that he believed was "out there.” Was it "out there”?
The answers are never "out there.” All the answers are "in there,” inside you, waiting to be discovered.