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Ordinary Mind: Exploring the Common Ground of Zen & Psychotherapy Paperback – January 15, 2005
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"Magid teaches a Zen of everyday, ordinary experience. He describes the upper reaches of human development as the embodiment of a great wisdom, the practice of 'everydayness' as a personal harmony with the order of that which is." (Psychologist-Psychoanalyst, the newsletter of the Division of Psychoanalysis)
"A wise and thought-provoking book that will have a significant impact on the way people think about the relationship between Zen and Western psychotherapy in the future." (Professor Jeremy D. Safran, editor of Psychoanalysis and Buddhism)
"A wise and insightful guide to living a saner life."-- (Charlotte Joko Beck, author of Everyday Zen)
About the Author
Charlotte Joko Beck was an American Zen teacher, founder of the Ordinary Mind Zen School, and author of Everyday Zen: Love and Work and Nothing Special: Living Zen. She is remembered for teaching her students to work with the emotions of everyday life, rather than attempting to escape them, and produced many Dharma heirs who are practicing psychologists and psychiatrists. She passed away in 2011, at the age of 94.
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Top Customer Reviews
But this is not just an intellectual polemic. Using a combination of honest examples from his own life, the wisdom of the Zen koan, and not least of all, humor, he repeatedly returns to how these issues inform our everyday life as we live it. Time and again he brings us back to the essential point that must be addressd in any approach to living a less self-centered life, whether the approach be that of psychology or spirituality. And that point is that the real satisfaction that all of us are looking for must come from the increasing ability to move away from our false pictures of what life is and what spirituality is, and instead move toward a direct experiencing of our life as it is.
In particular, I found his thoughtful examination of self at once
evocative and refreshingly straightforward. His examination of the issues of boundaries in both clinical and zen teacher-student relationships is intelligent and realistic. And his comments on transference and its relationship to a Buddhist conception of ego are of particular interest.
In psychoanalytic circles lately there has been a growing interest in Zen and Buddhist psychology. I believe that Zen students and mental health professionals alike will be in Magid's debt for a long time to come.
As a previous reviewer said ..."this is not just an intellectual polemic. Using a combination of honest examples from his own life, the wisdom of the Zen koan, and not least of all, humor, he repeatedly returns to how these issues inform our everyday life as we live it."
In addition this work includes a nicely written index making it possible to revisit those areas that made you think on your first read.
This is a solid, discerning book of Zen for everyday life. Barry Magid has a warm, gentle, no BS style like his own teacher, the loved Charlotte Joko Beck. He has the capability to take big wisdom and intelligently share it with his readers in an accessible, heartfelt and encouraging way:
"..this is like looking into a mirror: without any effort, our face naturally appears. Whatever we experience, whatever doubt or difficulty we feel, is simply who and what we are in that moment"
This is one of those books that does not leave the spot next to the bed. I find myself reading this over and over and am softer and kinder for it. This book shines!
He begins by chronicling his own journey in psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism. Next, he analyzes the history and philosophical perspectives of both traditions, beginning with the founder of psycho-analysis, Sigmund Freud. Freud had widened the split between the western analytical tradition and spirituality by characterizing religious experience as delusional and wishful thinking, insinuating that people who had 'peak' experiences were merely regressing to earlier stages of development.
Erich Fromm and humanistic psychology was the first school to challenge the Freudian perspective. However, the current movement to synthesize insights of zen and psychoanalysis can be traced to the work of Heinz Kohut who emphasized a view of the self as interdependent and relational, a view aligned with Buddhist ideas of the self.
Like psychology, Buddhism is made up of many different schools of thought including Zen Buddhism. Zen is further subdivided, but within Zen there are two main traditions which Barry Magid characterizes as top down (Rinzai) and bottom up (Soto). Both traditions seek the same goal, they merely have different approaches to achieve it. Top down practice is characterized by koan study. Koans are short sayings or stories that attempt to 'encapsulate a psychological or philosophical conundrum.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many fine things about this book. I hated the part with the alcoholic client, though.Published 2 months ago by Joan France Luzier
Not all books on Zen are truly Zen; this is one to read many times. So many books are 'about' Zen but the 'aboutness' is not always easy to find. Read it then read it again.Published on July 25, 2013 by Mr Milton Moon
Gem of a book. Learnt a lot about the zen way to find peace and happiness. Must read for everyone.Published on April 19, 2013 by Nina Grewal
Magid does a good job comparing psychoanalysis and Zen practice. Obviously they're not perfect fits, but he lucidly reveals their common ground. Read morePublished on July 28, 2010 by A Halaw
I'm a Soto Zen practitioner with a very high interest in how the many schools of psychology may fit with contemplative practices. So I was drawn into exploring this book. Read morePublished on May 25, 2009 by David M. Bell
This book, for the experienced practictioner of meditation is excellent.
For someone trained in psychology, it is a bridge across both disciplines
with fresh insights... Read more
This book gives a very clear and understandable explanation of many Buddhist as well as psychotherapeutic concepts. Read morePublished on July 23, 2007 by Bertina Povenmire
This book is one of the most engaging books on Zen that I have had the good luck to discover. In addition to providing a concise discussion of the relationship between the... Read morePublished on October 2, 2005 by Austin Gallaher