From 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."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Taking Our Places is wise, compassionate, poetic, and deeply moving. Growing up (at any age) at its best.” (Joseph Goldstein, author of One Dharma)
“A beautiful expression of deep spiritual maturity by a teacher whose wisdom shines brightly on every page.” (Sharon Salzberg, author of Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience)
“Zen-like in its elegant simplicity, this wonderfully wise presentation of maturity is inspirational.” (Sylvia Boorstein, author of Pay Attention, For Goodness’ Sake)
“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.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living)
“Warm and endlessly wise... offers indispensable answers to the only question worth asking; What do we do with this life?” (Rabbi Alan Lew, author of One God Clapping)
“Thoughtful, wise, considered, beautiful. Helps you ask the questions of the heart.” (Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart)
“This book beautifully illustrates that true maturity is more than a physical endeavor, it is a lifetime process.” (Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx)
“A refreshing book! For anyone who has struggled with their practice amid the complexities, frustrations, and ambiguities of real life.” (Charlotte Joko Beck, author of Everyday Zen)
“Fischer offers us a lifetime of experience in making sense of Zen.” (Mark Epstein, M.D., author of Thoughts Without A Thinker)
“Remarkable for its clarity in expressing complex concepts... this work focuses Fischer’s intellectual power into visceral, emotional reading.” (Jewish Bulletin)