Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide by Barry Magid

By Barry Magid

This new publication from Zen instructor, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and demanding favourite Barry Magid conjures up us — in wryly light prose — to outgrow the most unlikely pursuit of happiness, and as a substitute make peace with the perfection of ways issues are. together with ourselves! Magid invitations readers to think about the thought that our walk in the park that we're damaged could be turning our “pursuit of happiness” right into a resource of but extra soreness. he is taking an strange examine our “secret practices” (what we’re relatively doing, once we say “practicing”) and “curative fantasies,” in which now we have beliefs of what non secular practices will “do” for us, “cure” us. In doing so, he is helping us glance squarely at such pitfalls of non secular perform in order that we will steer clear of them. alongside the way in which, Magid lays out a wealthy roadmap of a brand new “psychological-minded Zen,” that could be one of the most vital religious advancements of the present-day.

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As such, it can function well or badly, and be intact or suffer damage—although this way of talking is obviously metaphorical. This psychoanalytic self refers to such things as the state of our self-esteem; for instance whether we are easily hurt or offended or whether we can consistently maintain our bearings in the face of life’s difficulties. We can also speak of our “self” as who we are in the sense of our personality or character. A person may have a strong sense of himself, be clear about who he is or about what she wants, or always feel anxious, uncertain, and doubtful about her 24 · Ending the Pursuit of Happiness motives and goals.

We recreate it as a living tradition in our lives both by our efforts and by our choices. ” When we read about how Zen has traditionally been practiced over the centuries in China and Japan, or even when we think about how the previous generation of teachers were trained, we must decide how much we can simply follow in their footsteps and where we need to branch off onto our own path. How much of Asian culture must we learn and assimilate in order to maintain a genuine connection to our spiritual ancestors?

With a Zen of “no gain,” we step outside of our usual realm of questions and answers, problems and solutions, off the endless treadmill of self-improvement and instead experience the completeness of our life as it already is. Psychoanalysis is similarly grounded in the open-ended, non-goal-oriented experience of our moment-to-moment mind as it is. Americans are addicted to progress and self improvement. The psychoanalytic method, almost as much as traditional Zen practice, goes against the grain of our modern life.

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