Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
An excellent and thought-provoking read
on 22 March 2014
I think this a truly excellent read. I find Barry's writing easy to read and thought-provoking. It regularly brings me back to basic truths. I thought his earlier book "Ordinary Mind" was by far the best book to date on the interface between Buddhism and Psychotherapy, and his recent "Nothing is Hidden" a significant step forward in the dialogue between these two traditions. As both a Psychoanalyst and a Zen teacher Barry is well-placed to make his comments. I am of course biased in that I find Barry's perspective compatible to my own and inspiring of insight.
Here are some quotes that give a flavour of the book as I experienced it.
"Each of us is trying to cure ourselves in one way or another, but often our hopes go underground and we are never quite clear just what we are seeking or how we imagine we are going to get there. We may say a lot of different things about what we hope to get from meditation, but in the back of our minds there usually lurks the fantasy that something will fix us once and for all".
"I will explore the ways we can become aware of and more honest about that secret practice that we all engage in behind the scenes, so to speak, in our imagination, the practice that we hope will be our fix, or our cure".
"We are surrounded by therapies and diets and self-improvement programs, all of which promise to fix us. What we don't realise is the way all of them tacitly reinforce our assumption that we are broken and need fixing".
"After all our futile efforts to transform our ordinary minds into idealized, spiritual minds, we discover the fundamental paradox of practice is that leaving everything alone is itself what is ultimately transformative".
"It's hard to really do nothing at all. Over and over, we watch our mind trying to avoid or fix, fix or avoid; to either not look at it or change it. Leaving that mind just as it is the hardest thing to do".
"Meditation practices that aim at cultivating Samadhi, or states of clear, thought-free concentration, all too often end up fostering emotional dissociation and avoidance".
" Zen students, especially those who have had some realization, are in grave danger of imagining that they now are somehow "seeing reality directly" just as it is - without acknowledging all the ways that unconscious processes and organizing principles continue to operate, both on a personal and cultural level".
"By and large, there continues to exist within the overall Zen community an idealized picture of monastic practice. There is rarely any acknowledgement that the particular forms of that training may, for many, be part of the problem, not part of the solution. It is particularly hard to come to terms with the possibility that some teachers themselves have had their emotional lives badly warped by their traditional training".
I find this book very helpful. It is also full of common sense. Thank you Barry.