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Lions Roar : January 2014
joy, concentration, and equanimity. These factors are also, according to Geri Larkin, a clear and simple formula “for falling into a sweet juicy life no matter the situation we find ourselves swimming through.” To explain the ins and outs of each factor she mines a wide variety of sources, including her personal experiences, traditional sto- ries from the Buddha’s life, tidbits from sutras, cooking instructions, and Zen koans. Larkin is the founder of Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple in Detroit and the author of Plant Seed, Pull Weed and The Chocolate Cake Sutra. With her warm and unpretentious voice, she manages to make profound Buddhist teachings something you could actually read at the beach or while soaking in the tub. PICK YOUR YOGA PRACTICE Exploring and Understanding Different Styles of Yoga By Meagan McCrary New World Library 2013; 240 pp., $15.95 (paper) Maybe you’ve been practicing yoga for years or maybe your first mat is still brand-spanking new. Either way, you most likely haven’t tried every school of yoga out there and you don’t completely grok the differences between them. My suggestion? Read Pick Your Yoga Practice. In this new release, Meagan McCrary unpacks the philosophy and practice of seven leading styles, and gives us tastes of an additional ten. From Kundalini to Kripalu, Anusara to Ananda, the variety is fascinating, but, as McCrary points out in the introduction, they’re more alike than they are different. Ultimately, yoga is always about promoting mindfulness and expanding self-awareness, and, accord- ing to McCrary, every style is valid. The important thing is finding the one that works for you. EVOLVING DHARMA Meditation, Buddhism, and the Next Generation of Enlightenment By Jay Michaelson Evolver Editions 2013; 256 pp., $14.99 (paper) In giving his assessment of contempo- rary American Buddhism, Jay Michael- son shoots from the hip. He’s grateful to his teachers; he really is. Yet sometimes he feels like he’s the only non-baby- boomer psychotherapist in the medi- tation hall. In short, Evolving Dharma is Michaelson’s effort to broaden our dharma discourse and strip it of some of what he sees as its hippie-dippy fear of irony. He begins by clearly stating his own point of view as a self-identified (off ) white, queer, Jewish male. Then he goes on to give the executive summary of the history of Buddhism in America, primarily focusing on the last three decades and their chocablock changes. These are some of the questions that he addresses: How has feminism informed dharma practice? What’s the outcome of ancient practices meeting modern sci- ence? And what does it mean when your sangha exists only online? Moreover, what’s next? Where’s American Bud- dhism going from here? THE EMPTY CHAIR By Bruce Wagner Blue Rider Press 2013; 304 pp., $26.95 (cloth) A framed narrative, The Empty Chair is two linked novellas. In the preface, a fic- tional version of author Bruce Wagner says he has spent fifteen years interview- ing people about the pivotal events in their lives and that this book comprises two of these interviews in their entirety. The first interview/novella is the story of a gay sort-of Buddhist. (His ex-wife calls him a living master of couch-potato Zen, but he refers to his philosophy as “vanzen” because he lives in his van and can’t imag- ine life without “the ol’ Greater Vehicle.”) This character has a delightfully ram- bling voice, but his tale takes dark turns, culminating in his son’s suicide. The sec- ond interview/novella revolves around Queenie, who in her wild-child youth left no New Age stone unturned. Now midlife is hitting hard, and her grandfather’s penthouse with its infinity pool and view of Central Park is not enough to stave off the mother of all depressions. Then the phone rings. It’s Queenie’s ex-lover, Kura, a criminal mastermind with spiritual leanings, and he has a proposition. How about a trip to India in search of a long- lost guru? ♦ MINDFULNESS IN RELATIONSHIP A CORE PROCESS PSYCHOTHER APY WORKSHOP WITH MAURA SILLS New York City • Starting March 2014 Maura Sills is one of the co-founders of the Karuna Institute and the innovator of Core Process Psychotherapy. Mindfulness is at the hear t of this innovative approach that integrates the insights from Buddhist psychology with western psychology and psychotherapeutic developments. It offers a deep understanding of what helps and hinders healing, insight and transformation. The course is made up of three 5-day modules. Participants find that the course helps them to deepen into a state of presence that they’re able to bring into relationship. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT www.stillpointcst.com 78 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2014