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Lions Roar : November 2018
A SENSE OF SOMETHING GREATER Zen and the Search for Balance in Silicon Valley By Les Kaye and Teresa Bouza Parallax Press 2018; 224 pp., $19.95 (paper) In the fifties, when Les Kaye was hired as an engineer by IBM, Silicon Valley was still the rural, orchard-filled “Valley of Heart’s Delight.” Yet it was transforming from farm to factory at break- neck speed. One evening in 1961, Kaye went to a cocktail party and noticed that his hostess had The Way of Zen by Alan Watts on her bookshelf. He borrowed it and, through its pages, realized that his technically-oriented work life was incomplete—it was missing the spiritual dimension. Kaye examined what was really important to him in the world of work and went on to have a successful, decades-long career. At the same time, he became a Soto Zen priest. In A Sense of Something Greater, Kaye’s teachings on the practical applications of Zen are complimented by interviews with tech employees attempting to incorporate spiritual practice into their high- pressure lives. REVIEWS THE PRACTICE OF PURE AWARENESS Somatic Meditation for Awakening the Sacred By Reginald A. Ray Shambhala Publications 2018; 304 pp., $18.95 (paper) Reginald Ray’s practical, embodied form of spirituality is grounded in his fifty-plus years rigorously studying Vajrayana Buddhism. Yet he has not simply adopted Tibetan traditions whole cloth. Instead, he has carefully framed the teachings for the Western mind. In this book, Ray presents techniques for opening our eyes or, more accurately, our bodies, so that we can discover reality as it is, without ego’s distortions. Pure awareness is the ultimate ground of our being, he says—vast, immaculate, and limitless in depth and scope. We do not need to manufacture pure awareness because it is already fully formed within us; we simply need to awaken it through the experience of our body. Ray teaches, “When we understand and experience our own human body in the most profound, subtle, and comprehensive way, we find that—at least for us humans—the body itself incarnates the fullest, most complete realization available.” LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2018 78