Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment

Ezra Bayda, Author
Ezra Bayda, Shambhala, $21.95 (176p) ISBN 978-1-59030-825-7
Paperback - 164 pages - 978-1-59030-921-6
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This gentle, introspective approach to finding happiness is based on asking three questions when confronted by life's difficulties: "Am I truly happy right now? If not, what blocks it? Can I surrender to what is?" Bayda (Zen Heart) deconstructs the usual myths about happiness as dependent on external conditions and striving—even spiritual striving—and provides simple practices to encourage contentment in daily life. These practices cultivate awareness of the present moment and opening the heart for individuals who aren't committed to a specific religion or spirituality. Despite the book's title—and Bayda's 15 years as a Zen teacher—the author mentions this tradition rarely, focusing instead on a basic Buddhist orientation to the mind, emotions, and virtues such as generosity, loving-kindness, and forgiveness. Bayda has struggled with an immune system disorder and brings compassion to the problem of finding genuine happiness. While this book would have benefitted from more concrete writing and sharper examples, it is a perceptive guide to an often discussed topic. (Dec. 14)
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