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Being Zen has ratings and 40 reviews. Graham said: A great book for applying Zen/Buddhist principles to everyday life.: For over three years I’ve bee. Ezra Bayda is a Zen teacher affiliated with the Ordinary Mind Zen School, having received formal dharma transmission from Charlotte Joko Beck. A student of. The paradox of Zen is that learning to just live in the present requires lots of hard work. In Being Zen, seasoned Zen teacher Ezra Bayda unpacks this paradox.

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Because fear is what drives much of our behavior, and at the same time it is the one thing that we least want to feel. I remember when I first started my spiritual journey I had the strong expectation that practice would free me from anxiety and fear.

Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life

I thought that if I studied and meditated, and struggled to change my behaviors, I could replace the undesirable parts of myself with a new, improved version of me—one that was free of anxiety.

So from the very beginning of my practice I decided to confront my fears directly whenever they arose, thereby hoping to amputate them. After doing these tasks it got increasingly easier, and I actually thought I had overcome my fear. But in truth, it was like cutting off a weed; the fear was temporarily removed, but because I had not gone to the root, it eventually returned. These examples illustrate two of the classic misconceptions about dealing with anxiety and fear.

The first is seeing fear as the enemy, a flaw, a weakness, within myself that I have to conquer.

In a way, every time we give in to fear, we cease to live genuinely. In fact, the essence of living authentically starts when we learn to relate to our fears in a new way. Instead of seeing fear as our enemy, we can begin to see fear as a wake-up, a signal.


What we have to understand is that fear is the protective cocoon of ego telling us to stop.

Saying Yes to Fear | Ezra Bayda | Sweeping Zen

It tells us to not go bsing the outer edge of our cocoon. What does it actually mean to say Yes to our fear? Saying Yes to fear is the gayda of what we usually do, which is to run away from it. The practice is to pause, allow ourselves to observe the thoughts racing through the mind, and then feel the physical sensations throughout the body. When we say Yes to fear, even though we may feel terror, we can begin to see there is no real heing danger.

We no longer need to panic, or try to push it away. A few weeks ago I received a call from my doctor telling me there were signs of a cancerous tumor in my kidney. And fall I did—right into the icy water! Saying Yes has allowed me to turn away from the story of doom, and instead turn toward the understanding that regardless of what might happen, this will be my path to living truly authentically.

In a way, I actually look forward to being pushed to work with my deepest attachments—to comfort, to control, to my body, to my future. Saying Yes means that my aspiration to live my life authentically is more important than indulging the story of doom and fear.

Remarkably, the episode of falling through the thin ice was very short. I mentioned that in my early years in practice I had the expectation that practice could free me of fear altogether. There is a subtle but crucial difference between these two understandings.


The more deeply we understand what it means to say Yes, the less we feel the need to push away fear when it arises. Instead, we can see it and use it as a catalyst on our path. Your email address will not zrn published. Don’t subscribe All Replies to my comments Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.

You can also subscribe without commenting. Ezra Bayda born is a member of the White Plum Asanga and has been practicing meditation since He originally trained in the Gurdjieff tradition, living in a community led by Robert De Ropp. In he began working with Charlotte Joko Beck, and began teaching inreceiving dharma transmission in His teachings are a blend of the Zen and Gurdjieff zrn, and are also influenced by Stephen Levine and Pema Chodron, with their emphasis on the need for loving kindness as an essential part of practice.

He has been a hospice volunteer for over ten years, and has authored five books, including Being Zen and Zen Heart.

They also lead meditation retreats in the U. Ezra also established a sitting group in Santa Rosa, Ca.

BEING ZEN: Bringing Meditation to Life

Next Ongoing Motivation to Practice. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. The views and opinions expressed ezta others at this website are not necessarily endorsed by Sweeping Zen.