Published: December 2017 by Parallax Press
I recently, got a chance to have a QnA with Maia Duerr, the author Work That Matters.
Q. What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
Two books that have informed how I move through the world are Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer. Sometimes I give each of those as gifts to dear friends, knowing what a difference they’ve made in my life! Both those books invited me into an experience that was deeper than the words on the page. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind was not actually authored by Suzuki Roshi (in the sense of written word) — it was taken from transcripts of his talks over the years at San Francisco Zen Center, and lovingly edited by his students. So the immediacy and intimacy of his teachings is transmitted in the pages of the book. In Parker Palmer’s book, he gives a very honest account of his life’s story, particularly in relation to his vocation. Both books gave me a sense that it is the darkest periods of our lfe that are actually the biggest gifts to us, if we can learn the practice of being present to them and learning from them.
Q. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
Well, as a Zen practitioner, I don’t often think any more in terms of ‘improving’ my life. It’s just this, what’s right in front of me, and there’s no more ‘improved’ version of me to get to. It’s about being present to all of who I am and what’s in the world around me. So I can’t quite answer your question the way it’s asked, but I would say that my meditation practice has been the foundation for living my life in a more intentional way. And when I’m able to do that, every part of my life feels more authentic and meaningful.
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