The Vow-Powered Life: A Simple Method for Living with Purpose

The Vow-Powered Life: A Simple Method for Living with Purpose

by Jan Chozen Bays


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Winner of the 2016 IPPY Gold Medal Award for Self Help 

How making a vowconsciously setting an intention—can be a powerful tool for achieving all sort of goals, from the author of the best-selling Mindful Eating.

Making a vow is a powerful mindfulness practice—and all you have to do to tap into that power is set your intention consciously. A vow can be as "small" as the aspiration to smile at someone at least once every day, or as "big" as marriage; as personal as deciding to be mindful when picking up the phone or as universal as vowing to save all sentient beings. It can be deeply spiritual, utterly ordinary, or both. Zen teacher Jan Chozen Bays looks to traditional Buddhist teachings to show the power of vows—and then applies that teaching broadly to the many vows we make. She shows that if we work with vows consciously, they set us in the direction of achieving our goals, both temporal and spiritual.

Bays presents secular and spiritual wisdom from both East and West, highlighting figures such as Martha Graham, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Buckminster Fuller. She helps us examine the vows we have already made for ourselves and the vows we’ve unconsciously inherited. She supports us in repairing broken vows, crafting new intentions, and exploring what’s truly on our bucket lists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611801002
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 01/19/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 594,616
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

JAN CHOZEN BAYS, MD, is a Zen master in the White Plum lineage of the late master Taizan Maezumi Roshi. She serves as a priest and teacher at the Jizo Mountain-Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon. She is also a pediatrician who specializes in the evaluation of children for abuse and neglect.

Table of Contents

In Gratitude ix

Introduction: The Power and Joy of Vows xi

1 About Vow 1

HowVows Work

TheVows You've Already Made 6

TheTrajectory of a Vow 9

Don't Confuse the Means with the Vow 14

2 Different Kinds of Vows 19

LifeIs the Original Vow 19

InheritedVows 25

InspiredVows 30

Reactiveand Overreactive Vows 35

3 Help in Forming Vows 45

TheTombstone Test 45

ABucket List 49

MissionStatements 54

ThePsychology of Vows 57

4 Maintaining Vows 63

RemindingYourself of Your Vows 63

Don't Add Fuel to the Inner Critic 66

Askingfor Help 69

Ceremoniesand Vows 76

Joininga Larger Vow 80

5 The Challenges Vows Present 87

VowsAre Alive, Vows Change 87

Vowsafter Retirement 91

WhenOur Vows Are Challenged 94

UnfinishedVows 99

VowsThat Continue for Lifetimes 102

WhenVows Are Broken 107

Atonement 111

6 The Vows of Relationships 113

Marriageand Divorce 113

Celibacy 120

7 Picked Up and Carried Along By Vows 125

OneVow Can Give Birth to Another 125

Litfrom within by Vows 137

ImpossibleVows 137

TheBodhisattva Vow 142

Appendix 1 Sample Vows 150

Appendix 2 A Personal Ceremony of Vows 157

Notes 159

Glossary 167

Index 168

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