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The Zen Of Recovery

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Paperback Book
January, 1993
$18.00 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

This is the first book to connect Zen mind and practice to the heart of recovery. Courageously drawing from his own experience as an abused child, alcoholic, Zen student, and dharma teacher, Ash presents a practical—and delightfully well-written—synthesis of AA’s Twelve Steps and Zen’s Eightfold Path. “The effectiveness of the Twelve Step program is well established, but its power is vastly enhanced when the systematic techniques of Eastern meditation are incorporated into the Eleventh Step. The Zen of Recovery represents a pioneering effort in addressing this important issue.” —Shinzen Young, Vipassana Support Institute

This book was written primarily to address questions raised by this Step: What is conscious contact? What is our understanding of God? What is meditation? These questions are explored at length in the chapter “Sitting Around, Doing Nothing, Looking at the Floor: the Spiritual Mechanics of Meditation.”

One of my favorite cartoons is by Gahan Wilson. It shows two Zen monks, one old and one young, sitting next to each other in meditation. The younger monk looks simultaneously expectant and perplexed. The older monk, scowling, says, “Nothing happens next. This is it.”

This really is it. Nothing more, nothing less. Welcome to your life. It is exactly as it seems.

There are many, many passages worth quoting in this good book, including practical instructions on how to meditate and put the book into action. Ash ends the book with a poem, “The Bones of Others,” which includes these words:

If you are here to read this,

think of those who aren’t.

Pray for them: good thoughts for those

who lost their minds, love and years

to compulsion, addiction and fears.

Think of their great sacrifice.

We recover on the bones of others.

Wrap your loving thoughts around them:

alone no more.

If you are here and recovering

your original shining true self,

a moment of silence for those driven mad

by the voices and screams of disease—

driven dreams. We walk from night to day

on a path made of the bones of others.

Hold them tightly in the warm arms of your spirit:

cold no more.

Publisher’s Description: 

Zen mind connects to the heart of recovery in this compelling blend of East and West. Courageously drawing from his lifetime of experience as an abused child, alcoholic, Zen student, and dharma teacher, author Mel Ash gives readers a solid grounding in the Twelve Steps and the Eightfold Path and shows their useful similarities for those in recovery.

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