on October 19, 2003
This book is harder to follow than its website suggests. I had to reread some parts to understand, and the most profound insights didn't occur to me until days later. But the author does a good job deconstructing such an abstract subject as sleep. Some insights blew me away. There is little Buddhist history or theory here so if you want a comprehensive introduction to Zen there are better choices. But if you are merely curious about Zen, or already familiar with it, and have trouble sleeping then this is your book. Well written with intriguing illustrations.
on June 8, 2004
I am glad I took a chance on this unusual book. It offered practical insights into what I was doing to keep myself awake (like trying too hard to sleep). The first half is easy to understand, showing all the ways I was creating unneccessary stress at night. That made it much easier to rest. It gets progressively deeper from there, into heavy stuff that I am not sure the average reader can grasp. I had trouble with the last chapter Beyond a Self that Sleeps, and decided a Zen Master I am not. But the entire book gave me a completely different way of looking at bedtime. The overall message is that if each moment is allowed to proceed naturally, without force, then sleep will come. Simple line drawings illustrate such thinking outside the box. Readers not already inclined to see things intuitively, or dislike personal growth books, may not like Zen Sleep. But I loved it and think it offers something meaningful for anyone who struggles at night.
on July 22, 2013
Very interesting, fresh perspective. Eric Chiles is a radical in the western world. I loved it. Instead of providing answers, solutions or any practical and externally based knowledges, he debunks the 'thinker's' incessant need to label, categorize and make sense of experiences. When we can do this, what's left is just sleep, as it is in its natural state. Brilliant.